Insights from the Google Retail Summit 2019

5 PPC Changes You Need to Know About Now

Google made 3,200 changes to its search system last year alone! Stay ahead of the curve with our top 5 PPC changes you should know about >

1. New Ad Formats

The first rule of betas are there are no betas…just be aware that we’re testing lots of new ad formats in Google Ads, some of which are super exciting and getting great results but we can’t talk about them yet! However, helpfully, Search Engine Land reported on one of the formats here. That’s one of the top reasons to use a Google Premier Partner agency because we are able to get access to these new features first and test them to make sure that when they are released to all accounts that our clients can be early adopters. Not all our clients qualify for betas so don’t be disheartened, you’ll benefit from the testing we are doing and you can be first out trap when they come out of beta.

2. No More Avg Pos

We wrote about this earlier in the year here but for a quick summary, you will no longer be able to see average position as a metric in Google Ads. Instead new metrics have been added – Impression (Absolute Top) %,” “Impression (Top) %,” “Search absolute top impression share” and “Search (Top) IS”, which will give advertisers a better indication on whether they are getting the visibility they want in the search results page. For a more in depth analysis read Frederick Vallaeys article on Search Engine Land.

3. Bing Ads is now Microsoft Ads 

The name change isn’t the most groundbreaking change in our industry but if you want to sound like you know what you are talking about then make sure you use “Microsoft Ads” now! On a side point, we find Bing Ads…sorry…Microsoft Ads give a good return on investment across most verticals and are a great way to increase sales using campaigns already set up in Google Ads. They are also keeping Ave Pos metric…for now anyway!

4. Ad Customisers 

Google Ads for a long time have had the ability to use Ad Customisers to be able to serve countdown ads or variations of ads based on a users location or the time of day. For example, on Black Friday we use countdown ads to say “Mega Sale Ends in xxx Days”. Microsoft Ads have just announced that they now support ad customisers and even better, they can be imported easily from Google Ads.

5. The biggest threat to Google is Amazon

As a retailer, you might be nailing your PPC campaigns but are you advertising on Amazon yet? An increasing number of users go straight to Amazon to search for products so don’t miss out on these potential customers. We’re getting great results for one of our retailers with low budgets and huge ROAS (return on ad spend) so if you sell through Amazon, then let us help you drive more sales.


A day in the life of… Becky Dickinson

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m Becky, I joined Launch Online last summer after being on the receiving end of their advice! I was Head of Marketing at a tech company and I used Launch Online to do my advertising for a few years. I have had to use lots of different agencies in past roles and Launch were one of the best I have ever used, so when I was ready for a new role back at an agency, I stalked Jaye until she gave me a job! I was born in West Yorkshire and moved to Devon when I was 7 years old. I’ve lived in a few different places with a couple of years in Sydney, but have always stayed by the sea!

What’s your job role at Launch Online?

I joined Launch Online to support with the overall marketing & advertising strategy for our clients but I have a very mixed role so I dip my toes in lots of different things. 

How did you get into Online Advertising?

I graduated from Bournemouth University with a degree in tourism and hospitality management, my plan was to go and do an internship with a big hotel group and travel the world managing hotels! I actually ended up working for a small marketing agency as a junior account executive and after a couple of years became the senior account manager for Schwarzkopf Professional. I worked on their brand presentations, websites, video creation, newsletters, social, the lot! I really enjoyed working at a small agency for a big global client as I got thrown in the deep end, I learnt far more than I would have done in a larger company. Since then, i’ve worked within agencies and within in-house teams from overall strategy to the nitty gritty.  

What would a typical day look like for you?

In the morning I check all my social campaigns for my clients, check everything looks as it should be. Once I have done this, I will then go through my emails. Every day is different, I could be putting together a strategy for a social media competition, putting a deck together for a proposal, creating social ad campaigns, writing blogs, creating a digital strategy for a client or advising on design. My role is very varied and I love it. 

What is something you look forward to everyday?

I love being creative with my client accounts, especially our smaller clients. My Mum has always had her own business so I understand every penny counts, I want to make sure I get as much return as I can for my clients. When I see I am helping them grow it really makes me happy!

What do you like most about your job at Launch Online?

I love the variation in my role, I would say one of my biggest downfalls is I can get bored pretty easily so I love being challenged everyday! That’s why I love marketing & advertising – it changes all the time. I have to read lots of articles every day to keep up with the changes in our industry. Jaye is also an awesome boss, I have learnt so much since working at Launch, Jaye invests in us, it’s a lovely work environment.

How do you wind down after a day at work?

I am a HUGE paddle boarding fan, I have my own blog, recommending people on where to go paddle boarding in the South West, I have actually found myself slowly becoming an influencer in this area! Who would have thought it?! You can read my blog over here if you also love a paddle! I also love cycling, a did a charity bike ride around Zanzibar a couple of years ago and fell in love with road biking. I like to think I am pretty creative, my Mum had an interior design business for years and so I love interiors. I have a little cottage in Exeter that I am slowly renovating! I can spend HOURS on Pinterest looking for inspiration!

Thank you Becky! Next up, we’ll be hearing from Jaye, she’s the brains behind Launch Online! Watch this space! 

9 Ways to Improve Your Facebook & Instagram Advertising from SMX Seattle

I am always a tad dubious when it comes to conferences and whether you learn anything, but wow, I learnt so much from SMX Seattle and couldn’t wait to action learnings on my clients (Jaye will be thankful we spent her profits on something worthwhile)!

It was also great hearing I am doing things right! There’s so much I learnt but I’m going to focus mainly on Facebook & Instagram advertising which was a hot topic. Here are some key takeaways on what we’re doing which were highlighted at SMX Seattle:

Instagram Stories – the uglier the better!

Instagram specific advert stories which are fairly new to Instagram are seeing some great results! I’ve been trialling some ‘instagram polls’ with some clients and the engagement is great.

However, those brand guidelines go out of the window a little bit (sorry brand guardians). I mean that talking dog gif with sunglasses… yeah people love it! What I am trying to say is make your advert look organic and not too pristine, customers want something real and the less ‘stocky’ image, the better. Get on instagram story adverts like it was yesterday!

Attribution – oh gawd!

As marketers, it’s our biggest challenge, especially when Facebook likes to count everything under the sun! Yes social advertisers, you know what I’m talking about! However, there was talk of a tool (I was gloating at this point because I already use it). It’s called Facebook attribution and it brings in all your data sources, you can select different attribution models and time frames, it’s SUPER COOL! Get it set up asap as it takes a while for the data to come in! You don’t need to be using Facebook ads to use it either.

If you’re looking at Facebook and other marketing channels separately, then stop. They work together! What if someone clicked a Facebook advert, did not convert and then clicked a Google remarketing ad, what worked? The Facebook ad or the Google Ad? THEY BOTH DID! Everything is connected and you need to be looking at customer journeys in detail to understand the path to purchase. Companies that look at marketing channels separately will lose.

Let Facebook learn guys!

Have you turned off your Facebook campaign after a week because it wasn’t converting? Well that was a bit silly, don’t do that! Facebook is a machine and like any machine learning, it takes time to learn. Every time you change something in a campaign, you’re giving Facebook a signal that it’s working or isn’t working.

Secondly think about how long it takes your customer to purchase something, do you book a holiday straight away? No, most of the time you don’t, so don’t switch it off so quickly and this leads on to my next point:

Why are you even focusing on conversions bro?

We don’t know exactly how the Facebook algorithms work but if you select conversions as your objective, we think Facebook will show your ads to the people that tend to convert off Facebook rather than your ideal person. A conversion objective is the most expensive objective you can choose on Facebook.

A lot of companies make a mistake by choosing conversions as their objectives for all campaigns and I’ll explain why this isn’t the best strategy.

Let’s say I am a package holiday provider. I have my remarketing audiences set up in Facebook and I have also created some new audiences to target. These new audiences I want to target don’t know who I am yet, they don’t care about by brand yet, they are in the top of the sales funnel so they’re really unlikely to convert straight away. Therefore, why would I choose the ‘conversion’, most expensive objective to target them?

For these new audiences, choose a cheaper objective such as brand awareness or reach. Make them aware of your brand first (a much cheaper targeting option) before trying to get them to convert straight away. If they convert in this campaign it’s a bonus, if they don’t convert straight away but are interested, they will go into Facebook remarketing anyway. Facebook remarketing is where you should use the ‘conversion objective’ as they are at the bottom of the sales funnel and more likely to convert – so it’s worth the higher bidding.

By separating your top and lower sales funnel out into different campaigns and adjusting your objectives you should be able to bring your CPA’s down. Now obviously every industry and campaigns are different and will require different strategies but really think about what your objectives are before pressing that publish button.

Sucks to be you, UK!

GDPR came up a lot in Seattle, they’re loving programmatic advertising over there and their different segmenting options within it (I got showed a demo of one, and wow, it was terrifying who they could target)! They were seeing some great results from the detailed targeting.

Unfortunately (or not) we can’t be as targeted because of GDPR. However, California already have the CCPA so I don’t think it’s long before the rest of America joins in and goes down the GDPR route.

Creativity is king

Agencies or in-house depts with a great creative department will be the winners. There is so much noise out there that you need to stand out. I have also found putting the keywords from my landing page in the ad works really well – test this out. Put effort into your creatives, test, test, test and make them a priority, not an afterthought.

Facebook used to be ‘easy’

Remember when Facebook ads came out, wasn’t it awesome! The results we got were amazing, it was new and shiny and we could really stand out! However, now that huge numbers of companies use Facebook Ads, a lot of the agencies in America have found that their lookalike audiences are no longer working and are having to pick 2-3% matches, at the moment, I am finding my 1% still work great. Is the US getting to saturation point and are we going to find ourselves there too? Time will tell.

Facebook want people to stay on the platform, therefore if your advert isn’t great, it’s going to prioritise another advert, probably one of your competitors. The hay days are over and it’s time to be creative.

Let the machine do it for you

Facebook is investing heavily into its ad platform, take advantage of their new features, dynamic creatives are working really well. Let it do the learning for you so you can focus on strategy.

Your competitors are not your competitors

You think you know all your competitors? No, I don’t think you do. Facebook ads can be really great for startups, they can target the biggies but the biggies can’t target the little ones!

What you also have to remember is that consumers compare you not only against your own industry but against others. If I have a seamless transaction with a retail client, I expect the same seamless experience with a travel client despite the fact they are in a different industry. However, UX is a whole other story for another time!

That’s it from me!

A short note from Dids on SMX Seattle