How Google Insights Helps Advertisers Make Better Decisions

How Google Insights Helps Advertisers Make Better Decisions

Analytics

One of the many challenges businesses have faced in 2020 is customizing marketing campaigns for changing consumer behavior. Who could have predicted that during the pandemic we’d see a surge in people interested in puzzles and puppies, or that a Netflix miniseries would have inspired an intense interest in chess? For years, many businesses have relied on keyword search tools to anticipate consumer preferences based on their searches. But Google recently launched something better: the Google Insights Page.

The Insights page, in beta, makes it easier for a business to explore emerging trends based on Google trending topics. Google cites the example of how an outdoor retailer might see insights on the rising demand for tents during times when consumers gear up for more outdoor adventures. Over the same period, a vacation rental company might see a surge in demand for cabins.

This function might sound familiar to you if you use Google Trends to research trending topics that people are searching on Google. But Google Trends is a manual, standalone tool. Google Insights goes much further by offering more functionality to a business. As Google notes on its Help page, Google curates Insights for your business based on your account performance and searches across Google for the products and services you show ads for.

Insights update daily. A business can check back frequently for new insights that may appear. Per Google:

  • Get insights tailored to your business: the Insights page looks for trends across Google that are relevant to the products and services that you advertise.
  • Understand your performance: drill into each insight to more detailed information about your account’s performance and new areas of potential opportunity.
  • Act on recommendations: Insights are integrated with account Recommendations, making it easy to take action.

Search trend insights help you to understand the search interest for products and services relevant to your business. You can use search trends to respond to shifts in search demand by identifying potential growth opportunities for your business.

Insights not only tells you what is trending but it also tells you how those trends will affect your performance – such as how many clicks you can expect to get from your current keyword coverage. You cannot get that kind of reporting from search tools such as Moz or SEMRush.

At True Interactive, we’re already using Insights for our clients, such as in higher education, an industry that is rapidly changing during the pandemic. Here’s a screenshot that shows the level of detail in the reporting we get from the tool:

Google Trends dashboard

In the above example, I didn’t need to do a manual search to see what types of topics are trending in the education space. Insights told me. In addition, Google Insights suggested how we might want to adapt our keyword bid strategy accordingly.

Using Google Insights with Explanations

Insights can be especially useful when you combine it with other Google ad tools. For instance, consider how you might use Insights along with Explanations, which helps you understand changes in your ad performance based on variables such as your campaign settings and auction activity. Let’s say Explanations tells me that impressions are falling for a particular brand campaign. Digging deeper, I might realize I added some negative keywords that are excluding some searches. When I look at Insights, I might further see that they keyword I excluded is related to a trending search. This data is like a red flag telling me I need to re-evaluate my decision to exclude that keyword.

Insights should prove to be an even more valuable tool when Google rolls it out more widely. Responding to advertisers with this tool is especially helpful now because there are limitations on what we can do in a world of automated bid strategies. It’s nice to have more data to support human decision making.

For more information about insights, read this useful article from Search Engine Roundtable.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising, contact True Interactive. We have the inside scoop on new ad tools such as Insights. Read about some of our client work here.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Best Practices in Applying Analytics to Digital Marketing Campaigns for Retail

Analytics Retail Analytics Spotlights

The-Marketing-ScopeThe retail industry depends heavily on digital marketing, and consequently, that makes online advertising very competitive. The online marketplace brings additional challenges that don’t exist in the brick-and-mortar world. Products, prices and even competitors change rapidly, sometimes by the minute.

To have any hope of achieving a positive return on advertising expenditures, online retailers must analyze what is working and what isn’t. While most digital marketers have an analytics program, such as Google Analytics, in place, more than half of them aren’t using analytics effectively.

These issues were the focus of a conversation I had with Eric Vidal, an Editor & Chief Content Officer, on this episode of “Marketing Mash,” a video series produced by The Marketing Scope. Watch the video, “Why Digital Marketing Analytics Is Important for Retail Sales,” to learn some best practices in applying analytics to digital marketing campaigns.

Close Variant Matching: How to Know When “Close Enough” Is Good Enough

Close Variant Matching Spotlights

Horseshoes ClusterAbout 18 months ago, Google AdWords made a significant change in how keywords trigger ads. If you use Phrase and Exact Match ads, AdWords also now automatically uses Close Variant Matching. Previously, this was the default but you could – and many did – opt out of it. Now, that’s not possible.

What does this change mean and why should you care? We cover that in some detail in “Horseshoes, Hand Grenades…and Now Google Close Variant Matching,” which was originally published on The Social Media Monthly (February 2, 2015.)

The Social Media MonthlyBut the short answer is this change means your costs could rise and control over your keywords could drop – if you don’t actively manage your campaigns. For example, if you use “hard drive” in an ad group, it could be shown to people who search for “hardly driven” used cars. That’s not exactly an ideal prospect for you.

However, Close Variant Matching can be extremely beneficial to you by pulling in “hits” from people who misspell, mistype or fall victim to dreaded “autocorrect” errors. Close Variant Matching also accommodates abbreviations and acronyms, so you can gain exposure for some terms without having to pay for another keyword.

We explained this in the Google AdWords Workshop: How Consistent Evaluation & Consolidated Keywords Yield Greater Exposure with Your Prospects. You can review the presentation from that workshop below.

In many cases, “Close enough” might be good enough. That’s your call. Once you understand how Close Variant Matching works and how you can regain control over your Google AdWords campaigns, you’ll be in a better position to make the right decision for your business.

Nuts & Bolts: Why Mobile is Important to Your Paid Search Strategy

Analytics Mobile Nuts & Bolts

In this installment of the “Nuts & Bolts” series, which digs into the nitty gritty of paid search, I want to share with you some valuable findings on the importance of mobile in your paid search strategy.

In a PPC Workshop I presented recently, I outlined five ways analytics makes paid search campaigns better. Further, I recapped the three-part series on mobile search that explained the driving forces behind the explosion of mobile search (and why it will continue to increase), what this means to marketers, and how this affects your paid search strategy.

Links for further reading and learning occur throughout the slides. And if you would like to share the workshop, we’ve posted to SlideShare for your convenience. Just click on the LinkedIn button or the file’s title to be immediately signed into the SlideShare site.

A Year of Analytics, Mobility and Video

Analytics Mobile Nuts & Bolts Video

As we prepare to say farewell to 2015, we’d like to use this final FirstWord post of the year to say thanks to all the editors who published our articles. We focused on three major themes during the last 12 months – Analytics, Mobility and Video – and some of the finest digital marketing publications on the web were gracious enough to share our work.

Here are five of our favorites:

Why Digital Marketing Analytics Is Important for Retail Sales” – a video interview with Eric Vidal, editor of The Marketing Scope

TargetMarketingHow to Use Analytics to Improve the Performance of Your Digital Marketing Campaigns” – from the Measurement & Metrics section of Target Marketing

MarketingProfsFive Ways Google Analytics Turns You Into the Sherlock of Paid Search” – a column in MarketingProfs

Before Shooting for Video Marketing Success, Learn to Hit a Moving (i.e., Mobile) Target” – featured in the Executive Briefing from biz

CMLogoThink Before You Leap Into Paid Video Search” – from the Consumer Marketing channel of Chief Marketer

If any of these headlines catches our attention, practice the power of the click. Click on the links we’ve provided and visit these pages in support of the publications that support us.

Nuts & Bolts: Five Ways Analytics Make Paid Search Campaigns Better

Analytics Nuts & Bolts

For the December installment of our “Nuts & Bolts” series, I’d like to share one of our Google Analytics Workshops. The presentation – “Five Ways Analytics Make Paid Search Campaigns Better” – has three key takeaways:

  • Analytics help you see beyond the obvious and discover truth of your paid search campaigns
  • Analytics go beyond counting website visitors to assessing prospective buyers
  • Learn 5 useful metrics provided by Google Analytics for evaluating paid-search campaigns

Links for further reading and learning occur throughout the slides. And if you would like to share the workshop, we’ve posted to SlideShare for your convenience. Just click on the LinkedIn button or the file’s title to be immediately signed into the SlideShare site.

Taking Measure of Paid Video Search

Analytics Attribution Modeling Video

chart bustingVideo is rapidly becoming the preferred method for consuming content on the Internet. From Netflix to Facebook to the video “granddaddy” YouTube, video already accounts for 64 percent of all Web traffic, and that figure is expected to rise to 80% by 2019. Video presents a wide range of opportunities for savvy marketers. But like anything else, you need to be sure you have a reason for getting into paid video search.

Just like mobile marketing, you still need to get people to find your videos, then measure the effectiveness of each click. Tools are being introduced that make it easier to measure the effectiveness of paid video search. For example, Google is making a real effort to integrate the YouTube advertising platform into AdWords. They also have a product in beta called TrueView for Shopping that combines video with shopping feeds. Consumers can watch a video, click on a product image and shop right there.

That should help overcome one of the biggest objections, which is the lack of ability to directly attribute a purchase to a consumer watching a video. Currently, Google recommends using attribution modeling to measure the effectiveness of a video. With TrueView for Shopping, however, marketers will be able to use last-click conversion measurements much more effectively. Finally, you will be able to see hard data on which videos work and which fall flat. Do you need more explainer videos, or does your audience prefer humor? Is 30 seconds the ideal length, or are your prospects seeking long-form content?

Change in the way video is consumed

Perhaps one of the biggest factors contributing to the growth of video is the change in the way it’s consumed. Video viewing (think television) used to be controlled by the content providers.

Now anyone can watch what they want, when they want. YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and their ilk have seen to that. Measuring the audience has been challenging, although Nielsen may have cracked the code on Netflix. On other sites, Google TrueView will ensure you’re paying only for actual views, rather than estimated viewership.

The net takeaway is consumers are not spending as much time flopping on their couch watching whatever is pushed to them. Instead, they are seeking out content on their own terms, and on a variety of devices. YouTube claims that advertisers have seen click-through rates for these more targeted ad videos that are 3-4 times higher than other video ad formats.

There’s always a “but…”

With all that going for it, why shouldn’t marketers just jump whole-hog into video? To be effective, at least at present, you need to be sure your attribution modeling is in place so you can judge the success of your paid video search. If it isn’t, you need to get that house in order first. Especially if your product or service is more of a considered purchase. Taking time to understand your audience and build the models will help you drive more value throughout your campaign.

Having a deeper understanding into which video ads work is, of course, a tremendous boon for marketers using that medium. But before you get to the point of placing video ads, you must produce the actual videos. While that doesn’t have to bust your budget, it isn’t always cheap. Are video ads right for your marketing plan?

As I said in my previous post, this is the time to recall the wise words of your mother: “If your friends were jumping off the roof, would you do it too?” Just like back in those days, you need to carefully consider the risks and measure them against the thrill of the leap. In my next post, I will give you some pointers to help you make that determination – “To video, or not to video?”