Friday, 22 February 2013

Flogging A Dead...

If you're in business, it's always a good idea to keep your ear to the ground for new developments or stories that will have an influence on your trade.  Here in the UK we currently have a news story that should be making our stressed independent butchers jump for joy: The Horsemeat Scandal.

For those that don't know (or care, or both), horsemeat has been found in a large number and variety of pre-prepared meals here in the UK; typically those sold in supermarkets.  Whilst a source of great discussion and contention, for our independent butchers this news is joyous.  I've spoken to both our local butchers here where I live and they've both said they've seen a very welcome increase in trade.  They can proudly say - and prove - that when you buy beef mince from them it will be "beef" mince not something that might conceivably once worn a saddle.

So, butchers think it's great, so what?  Well, if you're a butcher, now is a perfect time to advertise.  You not only have the benefit of the scandal making your business more attractive, you can use Keywords related to the scandal to show your Ads.  Just now I searched for "horsemeat" in Google.  I was instantly offered "horsemeat scandal" as a suggestion and have now seen a full page of results related to the current news.  But there wasn't a single Ad from a butcher.  That page should be covered with Ads promoting local businesses and the quality of their wares; buyers in the UK should be reminded that if they're worried about the quality of their meat they can get a reliable source and support local trade.

Even better news is that you really won't face any competition from supermarkets for once.  I'm sure they're all thinking of how they might turn this disaster into a triumph but they won't be able to advertise their own in-horse, sorry, in-house butchers with a straight face.  OK, so you were selling us horse meat from the chillers and freezers but we're supposed to trust you when it's over the counter?

So, c'mon all you butchers out there... where are your Ads?

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Enhanced Campaigns - No Mobile Only?

There's a terrible amount of gossip floating around the Web about Google's new Enhanced Campaigns and most of what I've read is about the "loss" of mobile-only Campaigns.  There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth and dire predictions of doom, all of which seems to stem from the idea that you can't turn off desktops and tablets.

Is this true?

Well, in one way, yes.  There are no longer any checkbox options for choosing between desktop, tablet or mobile - and certainly no advanced choices for OS, models, etc. - but there are options that can focus Campaigns heavily towards mobile devices.  How effective they'll be, only time can tell - it's still extraordinarily early in the game - but they are there, so how do they work?

Most of the chatter talks about being able to "turn off" mobiles by setting their bid to -100% - so the Max CPC effectively becomes 0.  There's no option to do this for desktops or tablets - the only bid adjustment is for mobiles but you can make it positive.  This means you set a very large positive bid adjustment for mobiles effectively leaving the bids for desktops and tablets in the dust.  This is best explained by an example.

Let's say you're currently running a mobile-only legacy Campaign and you know that your CPC is generally around the $1 mark.  This is also the sort of bid for a desktop that'll get you in the "top" position in Google Search.  When you change to an Enhanced Campaign you can set your default Max CPC to $0.25 and set a bid adjustment of +300% which will result in a mobile bid of $1 - what it was before.*  However it leaves the desktop and tablet bid at just $0.25, almost certainly far below the threshold for any decent impressions or clicks.

*This wouldn't be the case if I did the math, but it's how Enhanced Campaigns work it out.

And there's more.  Enhanced Campaigns also allow you to specify a "mobile" preference for your Ads - there's a checkbox now in the Ad edit screen that allows you to say that you'd like this Ad to appear on mobile devices in preference to desktop devices.  Before you ask, yes, you can set all your Ads to this but it won't stop them showing on desktops, all it will do is make all the Ads potentially show on desktops.  A smarter course of action is to have just one Ad in each group that you've left as "non-mobile" and to write this Ad carefully, in the knowledge that it'll probably only be seen on desktops.  I wouldn't suggest that you make a bad Ad in the hope it never gets clicked - if the Ad is going to show anyway you may as well make use of it - but you could make it clear the nature of your business or even encourage they visit your site with their mobile.

So, no, there's no checkbox any more to select just mobiles but it's not all doom and gloom; with a combination of smart mobile bid adjustments and mobile-preferences Ads, you can get most of the way there.  When you add in all the other cool improvements that no one is talking about like bid adjustments based on location, better scheduling, vastly improved reporting, etc., much of which is focused on improving mobile support, Enhanced Campaigns are nowhere near the devils they're being painted.

Find out more about the Enhanced Campaign features.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Know Your Visitors - Use Surveys

OK, this may not at first appear to be that relevant to AdWords, but it is, trust me.

What's the worst thing that can happen to an AdWords advertiser?  No, not that, or that; it's receiving clicks that cost you money and don't turn into sales.  Let's face it, you're sitting there sometimes just weeping at all those clicks that came to your site - and spent quite a long time looking around - but which then leave and never came back.  If only you could know why?

Clever use of Google Analytics can give you clues.  You can see which pages are favourites for leaving, which ones "bounce" high, and even which key pages people don't visit at all.   You can see where people come from, what browsers they use, all sorts of fascinating stuff.  What you can't do is ask them all, one by one, why they didn't buy from you.

Well, you can.  You simply run a survey.

You can't have used the web for more than a few weeks (perhaps hours if you're really keen) without running across a site that asks you "just for a couple of minutes to answer some questions".  Despite appearances these surveys are not simply there to annoy visitors, they serve a key purpose in helping to identify whether a site is fulfilling it's objective.  They're there to gather the "why".

Surveys have been around for a long time but Google have just launched a new tool - Consumer Surveys - that make the process easy and, for a limited time I imagine, you can get $75 worth of surveying free.  What?  I have to pay for a survey?  Well, yes, but think of the possible advantages.

Let's say your current Conversion Rate is 5%.  Not that bad, pretty good in fact, compared to some businesses.  But what if a simple survey that costs you less than $100 could show you something that could increase that rate to 8% or 18%?  I'll leave you to work out what that could mean in terms of Net profit.

Don't be a Pain
However, as I've already said, most of the time these site surveys are a complete pain in the **bleep**.  They ask too many questions and take too long.  How many times have you grudgingly consented to fill one in (usually because of a promise of money or prizes - remember, I still want that Oris watch and a Porsche 911) that's supposed to just take 2 minutes only to find you're still sat there answering question 2,872 six months later?

Google's Consumer Surveys are significantly different in that they ask just one question of each person they trap approach.  You build a survey of how ever many questions you want but each individual is only asked one of them.  Because these questions can be asked on all manner of sites, at all sorts of times, you'll get a much better "representative sample" than just getting mugs to fill in all 2,873 questions in one go.

So how can this be used to help Adwords?  It's all about satisfying the needs of the potential customer.  If you can find out what people really want, you can tailor your marketing towards that.

Let's go back to my old favourite - lawnmower sales.  If you sell all manner of lawnmowers, you could create a survey that just asks a handful of questions like; "Do you prefer electric or petrol?", "Cylinder, Hover or Rotary?", "Qualcast, Black and Decker, (other brands)?", "How much would you spend?".  There are probably a few more you could think of but just these four questions could give you a much better understanding of what is really popular in lawnmowing web users today.

OK, it's not going to be for everyone, but it's worth thinking about, isn't it?

If you want a more traditional approach to individual surveys - and the concept of using this information to enhance your marketing is just as valid - I can recommend these folks: they have a great product that is FREE for small organisations (be honest now...) and very reasonable for the paid plans.  What have you got to lose?