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Are you Getting the Most Out of Search Advertising?

One thing is certain from this last year: online spending is not going anywhere. Which is why through all the ups and downs other industries faced in 2020, search advertising has raised expectations for spending this year. 

Spending for all touch points, which combine desktop, mobile and tablets, is forecast to increase by at least 10%, and as much as 25% in some areas. That makes it the fastest growth since 2018. This is good news for anyone looking to increase conversions for your brand.

How did the pandemic affect search advertising?

When news of shutdowns first hit, uncertainty was high, and advertising responded in kind. In Q1 and Q2 many advertisers took a cautionary step and lowered ad spending. But as more people began to look around online, and order things directly to their doorstep, things changed. While advertising spending overall will likely increase from some of the flattened numbers of 2020, search advertising is forecast to do especially well. 

How can search advertising increase conversions?

Like any good marketing, the best way to reach your audience is where they’re already at. And right now everyone is online. Increasing conversions through search engine marketing works with a consistent strategy and well-researched keyword usage. 

Targeting audiences through the right keywords can be taken a step further by combining other targeted points like website visits and interests or behaviors. This use of custom audiences can make sure your ad spend is working its hardest to reach the correct users.

Various conversions can exist within the user journey, and each should have a desired CPA. Campaigns or ad groups defined by those different users should be segmented as such and can be organized by different keyword types: priority keywords, head terms (low hanging fruit), longtail, impression share, and conquesting (competition) to name a few.

How can search advertising increase sales?

Targeting your audiences for clicks or conversions can include a variety of strategies. The top way to optimize is by dividing into useful campaign/ad group segments, which are based on keyword groupings. With these divisions made, the next step is to use separate bid strategies for each grouping. These would ideally have Target CPA’s set to control costs.

These groupings allow keyword research, audience segmentation and strategy to work together. When everything is properly in place, your advertising will find ready audiences with the type of communication that will get their attention the best.

Offline Conversion Tracking – Data You May Be Missing

A couple of our favorite things about digital advertising are the ability to reach an intended audience more precisely, and to more accurately measure the Return On Investment (ROI) for each ad that is placed. Not only does this data help advertising be more impactful, it gives us data to better strategize future advertisements as well. 

Yes, tell you something you don’t know, right? Did you know that Google offers conversion tracking for offline data too? Google Offline Conversion Tracking helps track things like offline sales, phone calls, form submissions, and downloads. And although it’s there for anyone to access, we’ve found many companies underestimate the value of tracking offline conversions.

Why Offline Conversion Tracking is Important

Without tracking offline conversions it can be hard to tell the quality and value of the leads that the ads are driving. This data can also provide better insight about the Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS) of a campaign. Analyzing where and how these conversions are happening will help to get the most out of an advertising budget, and improve a bid strategy. 

For example, let’s say someone clicks on an ad that takes them to a landing page about a specific product. If they read about it, then call a sales rep and give their information, you can have the whole process tracked. It can help you know how the sales call went, and where that customer is in the funnel, and it can all lead back to data on how the original ad is working.

How to Improve Offline Conversion Tracking

 Depending on the needs and intended outcomes for Google Ads, each client can have varying strategies working into their ads at any given time. Our recommendation for companies to benefit from Google Offline Conversion Tracking would be to integrate their CRM data with Google Ads. You can find out more about how to import that data here

This process allows for data and feedback to work together, and help get the highest performance and reach out of the Google Ads that are running. But there are caveats to how this can work properly. For example, ad content from CRM data cannot imply the knowledge of personally identifiable information or sensitive information about your customers.

As with original ad strategy, knowing what to include and exclude can differ depending on your brand and targeted needs. But the more data points that can be analyzed the more improved the contact points can become, leading to increased conversions overall.

Are Animated Social Posts Worth Your Time?

On a daily basis we work with clients to support their marketing objectives through different social media platforms. While there are best practices and platform focuses, some of this can vary depending on the client. We recently did internal research for a company going through a brand refresh to determine what was working best to connect with their current followers and potential customers.

Our goal in all of this was to understand how audiences were responding to different types of ad formats across different content topics.

What we analyzed

Our first step was to gather data on three months’ worth of paid media across three different sub-brands within the same company. This resulted in data from advertising across Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for three separate social media accounts each. We then categorized this data based on ad format and content type, specifically focusing on movement and production amount.
Static images: no movement
Standard animation: simple use of product or text, typically using still images
Advanced animation: custom animations and longer production schedule
Videos: clips of longer client assets, usually cut to an average of 15 seconds

Once categorized, we analyzed performance by the following metrics: click-through rate (CTR), thruplay rate, conversion rate and cost per click (CPC). Using multiple metrics helped pinpoint if ad format value varied by conversion type.

What we discovered

For all three brands that we tracked, standard animation posts were the top performers. It was also noted that specific content topics could sway the performance of these posts as well. On average, CTR was higher on standard animation and video posts, with CPC under one dollar.

In some cases, advance animation performed slightly better from one brand to another, again based on content topic. Although this type of finding sounds generalized, knowing which topics performed better for each brand will be helpful insight for future marketing.

From the outcomes received, we were able to evaluate holes in the data, such as content types that did not have ad formats to test. With this realization we have moved on to A/B testing certain content types as standard and advanced animation ads.

Takeaways for future strategy

With all brands, audiences can have distinct personalities and hidden motivations within their viewing and interactions. While this case study helped us find data to better serve a client in the midst of a brand pivot, data collection and analysis is something we are constantly reviewing for every client and social account we support.

Seasonality, personal preferences, outside trends…all of these things can contribute to a shift in what your audience responds to at any given time. The pro and con of social media is that it is always changing, always allowing for new ways to connect to your customers. Keeping on top of these changes with similar fluidity is necessary to keep your metrics performing at their best.