AdWords

New Google AdWords Feature: Compare Date Ranges

When I logged into AdWords yesterday, I noticed that Google released a new feature that always felt as if it was missing: a date selection tool. The new tool now let’s you compare date ranges à la Google Analytics. This can be very useful in measuring the performance of your campaigns over time. Just click the blue slider and select the previous period.

Google will then generate a chart with multiple graph lines comparing the dates selected.

Image Credit: TheBusyBrain

How To Leverage Your eCommerce Datafeeds To Increase Sales

This post is written by Ben Bakhshi from adCore. adCore is an SEM automation suite that allows eCommerce shops to synchronize their datafeeds with Google AdWords and managing their bids automatically. Ben also writes for the blog eCommerce Marketing.

Google Doodle

 
Image Credit: Stuck in Customs

You are marketing your eCommerce shop wrong and that is causing you to miss out on a lot of sales. If you aren’t familiar with your product datafeed, chances are that you are not reaching your site’s full marketing potential. Your eCommerce product datafeed is your business’ catalogue of merchandise that can be read by a variety of platforms. For companies with a hundred or more products, a well-designed eCommerce datafeed provides an opportunity to scale up marketing and sales and overall product manager, like offering discounts, making sweeping changes to inventory, managing suppliers, and more.. While having a feed to inject into your eCommerce platform can help your internal efficiencies, your feed can be used by search engines, shopping comparison sites, and affiliate networks to increase your sales. So let’s find out how.

Optimize Your Feed

Your datafeed should be organized in a manner that Google can understand, aka SEO (search engine optimized).  Your feed should be in XML or CSV format, and hosted somewhere online via HTTP or FTP.  When organizing your CSV or XML headers, use human names like: Brand, Manufacturer, Product Name, Product Description, Category, Sub-Category, etc.

Make sure you separate or use a different feed for your Brand and Category landing pages. When someone searches Nike Shoes, you want them to land on a page with all Nike shoes, not on a specific product page. The Brand and Category landing pages often convert at a higher percentage than product landing pages.

Don’t group multiple columns together. Whenever possible, keep your Brand and Product Name separated. That way when someone searches for Nike Shoes, Google will know to display your broad Nike landing page, and not Nike Dunks Women’s Size 8 just because you poorly organized your feed.

Synchronize Your Feed with Google AdWords

Consider synchronizing your feed to Google AdWords with a 3rd party AdWords tool like adCore. In 2006, Google launched the AdWords API which opened up access to developers to create software that can make changes within AdWords. With adCore you can create an AdWords campaign that adds new inventory and pauses out of stock inventory automatically. adCore and the AdWords API allow you to have up to 2 dynamic numeric fields, (often Price and Quantity-in-Stock, but could be anything), without losing historic data on your ad due to ad-copy changes. You can also push your ads to Yahoo and Bing. It is recommended that you have an experienced AdWords manager manage your AdWords account.

Link your Google Shopping account to AdWords, and run Product Listing Ads. Google does a great job of driving highly targeted traffic to your product landing pages. When you run a service like adCore in addition to Product Listing Ads, you can get 2 or more impressions on any given product search. The more impressions you get the more sales you can make.

Submit Your Feed to Shopping Comparison Engines

There are many shopping comparison engines on the net, with new ones popping up all the time. Some are free, and some charge you for incoming clicks. Here is a list of the top 10 shopping comparison engines, ranked by CPCStrategy: Amazon Product Ads, Shopzilla, Nextag, Google Shopping, Shopping.com, PriceGrabber, Pronto, Become, Bing Shopping, and TheFind.

You can save a lot of time by working with a datafeed management company to submit your feed for you and keep them synchronized. Some companies that I recommend are FeedManagerUSA, CPCStrategy, FusePump, GoDataFeed, GoMage, and Aten Software.

Give Affiliates Access to Your Feed

Allowing affiliates to participate in your sales funnel is a guaranteed way to increase your sales in the short and long run. You pay them a fixed percentage that guarantees that you earn money on every transaction; some business will decide to cut even on the affiliate transactions because they take advantage of the extra brand awareness and return customers. The more that affiliates are able to earn, the more they will work for you.  Affiliates are great because they create content pointing to your site, like blogs, forums, review sites, and more.

You can push your datafeed directly to the hands of affiliates one at a time on your website. Just make sure that you apply their affiliate parameter to the URLs in the feed so that they can get credit. Alternatively you can work with affiliate networks like ShareaSale, Commission Junction, Google Affiliate Network, LinkShare, PepperJam, Avantlink, and more. There is usually a startup fee up to a few thousand dollars to join an affiliate network. This is a great investment to consider because affiliate sales can scale your sales so much.

In conclusion, utilizing your eCommerce datafeed can dramatically increase your eCommerce sales. It is the modern version of having a store catalogue, but with much more scale. Done the right way, you can have other people sell your merchandise for you, saving you a lot of time, and increasing your overall revenue and merchandise turnover.

New Google AdWords Feature: Shared Budgets [How-To]

Google AdWords just released a new feature which will help you control your budget. Until now, each campaign had it’s own budget. If you wanted to cap your spend across specific campaigns/promotions you had to merge everything into one campaign. The new Shared Budgets feature allows you to group campaigns and override their budgets.

Google AdWords Shared Budgets

Step #1 – Navigate to Campaigns –> Shared Library –> Budgets –> New Budget

 

Step #2 – Enter Budget Settings

  1. Budget Name (i.e. Fall Campaigns)
  2. Apply to Campaigns – select which campaigns should be under this budget umbrella
  3. Budget Amount – this new budget will replace the existing campaign budgets
  4. Delivery Method – same options as on the category level (Standard or Accelerated)

Try it out and let us know how it performs for you.

How To Optimize Your Google AdWords Product Listing Ads

The Google AdWords Product Listing Ads generally perform very well for most eCommerce retailers. You can read our guide on how to set up Product Listing Ads. Here are some extra tips to help you set up and optimize the campaign correctly.

Google Merchant Center

In your Google Merchant Center feed, you can add the following columns to help with Product Listing Ads.

adwords_grouping This field is used to group products. It can be used for Product Filters to limit your AdWords campaign to a specific group of products. This field can be useful if you want to bid differently on different subsets of products. It can only hold one value (i.e. “electronics” or “iphone”).
adwords_labels This field is very similar to adwords_grouping, but it will only only work on the CPC bidding model. It can hold multiple values, allowing a product to be tagged with multiple labels (i.e. “shoes, sneakers”).
adwords_publish This field is used to exclude select offers from Product Ads. If this field is not included or left blank, all product will be included in your product ads. If you want to exclude any items from being displayed you need to fill the column with a value of “true” or “false”.
adwords_redirect You can use this field to set the click URL of the Product Listing Ad. This comes in handy when you standard Merchant shopping feed has all the URLs tagged (i.e. ?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=CSE). By filling out this field with a plain URL with no tracking (i.e. http://www.merchant.com/product.html), your traffic/revenue will only be attributed to one source.

Google AdWords

Once you add these fields to your feed file, you can filter your campaigns by grouping and labels.
Google Product Listing Ads Product filters

You can find more info in the Google Help Center.

The Integration Of SEO & Social Media

Craig Smith is the founder and CEO of Trinity Insight, a leading eCommerce consulting agency that provides multivariate testing.

Social Media Bandwagon

Social Media & SEO

Recently, major developments have taken place within search algorithms to weigh social signals as ranking factors. Social signals present additional cues which can be leveraged by search engines, and these elements have been incorporated as secondary datapoints to be utilized when engines decide which pages to rank at the top of the results.

The reason for this shift is pretty clear. Search engines have been dealing with the problem of link spam in link manipulation for years now. Outside of on-site HTML, search algorithms really do not have many other factors to weigh.

The secondary link market caused search results to rank that were less than ideal for Google. The engines know that the competitive advantage they have is primarily attributed to query relevance.

Relevance is the key to everything that happens within Google’s business. If Google doesn’t give you, as a user, a phenomenal experience by providing accurate and quality solutions to the questions you pose within the search engine, you will simply use another engine and click on their paid listings.

Because AdWords (i.e. Paid Search) makes up over 90% of Google’s revenue this is clearly something that they protect as their number one strategic initiative, keeping their listings more relevant than any other search engine on the market.

Spammers and manipulated links are the number one threat to Google’s relevancy. For so many competitive listings, there are sites that are clearly built on scraped content, that have been manufactured solely for the purpose of generating affiliate revenue, and that have achieved top search engine rankings through link manipulation techniques.

Many of these sites were eliminated from the search engine results with the panda update that took place earlier in 2011, but still, many sites that present a less than ideal user experience are frequently at the top of Google’s search engine results.

In my opinion, Google realized that they had to add additional variables to their internal ranking algorithms to ensure that relevancy not only improves, but also that the additional garbage content that exists on the web is eliminated. The social web that exists in a high percentage of overall internet traffic, provides exactly what Google needs to supplement their existing page rank algorithm.

Facebook and Twitter are the two principle components of what I am calling the social web. The social web is the interconnection between humans that serves as a filter for content.

Because humans pass content that is of value, and that also provides connections on an emotional level, or for some type of learning experience, search engines can take these user actions of sharing and incorporate these “signals” into the link driven ranking algorithms that exist today.

What Should You Do?

So what are you to do as a marketer? Well, the first plan of attack should be to isolate the influencers that exist within the social web for your marketplace. Document the publishers, the URLs, and the specific Facebook pages or groups that have high levels of interactivity, and three occasions for the search terms they were targeting.

Next it’s time to look at your content. What content do you have on your domain that is of high value? What content do you have that will help answer questions or comments within prospects’ minds in your market? Document these pieces of content as these are the two types that you will be seeding in Facebook and Twitter.

If you don’t have content that is of high value, then you need to create it. Your SEO success will not proceed without your site being a leader in targeted copy that is geared for your prospects.

Conducting a proper keyword research effort, will help you understand what you need to write about. Schedule a marketing campaign and content distribution strategy that touches upon all of these categories and subcategories.

Lastly, after your content has been created, it’s time to engage. An analyst or representative of the organization will need to interact in social communities that are discussing the topical areas you are targeting within your SEO efforts.

You will want to present your content as solutions to questions within the social setting. The key is not being a salesman of any kind, but rather, a trusted individual that helps provide perspectives and insights to solving problems that users have. Don’t optimize anchor text, just present URLs as solutions to user questions.

By interacting in these discussions and communities not only will your brand receive increased exposure for prospects in your market, but Google and other search engines will see your content as a trusted resource as you are helping provide solutions to web users. This is exactly what Google wants you to do and your search engine rankings will benefit.

Best of luck within your SEO efforts!

Image Credit: Matt Hamm

New AdWords Account Snapshot Dashboard Available

It seems Google has launched a new version of the “Home” tab in AdWords. I don’t use the dashboard tab much myself, but it can be very useful to get a high level overview of your campaigns. Here is a quick tutorial on how to activate it and setup custom modules.

Here is what the old interface looked like:

Google AdWords Account Snapshot Old Interface

You will notice a new link on the top left that says “New version”, click on this to activate the new version. Note: When I clicked on this link the page just seemed to hang, I reloaded AdWords and was able to access the new interface.

Google AdWords Account Snapshot - New Version Link

Once you successfully activate the new interface, you should see a sleek modern dashboard that looks like this:

Google AdWords Account Snapshot - New Interface

You have the ability to add new custom modules by setting up saved filters in the standard campaigns tab. Any saved filter will be populated into this box:

Google AdWords - Custom Modules

Enjoy the new dashboard…

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