Subscribe: RKGBlog
http://feeds.rimmkaufman.com/rkgblog
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade A rated
Language: English
Tags:
ads  advertisers  data  feed  feeds  google  headline search  holiday  party  product  products  search ads  search  shopping 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: RKGBlog

RKGBlog



RKG is a digital marketing agency providing data-driven solutions to online marketing challenges.



 



Google Merchant Center Updates Make Feed Testing and Other Tasks Simpler

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 13:30:59 +0000

Google introduced a new user experience in the Feeds tab of the Google Merchant Center (GMC) this August.  These new updates bring more functionality to the Feeds tab and overall have been found to be beneficial, though it may take some time to acclimate to the new layout. Key Enhancements to the New Feeds Experience: 1) Streamlined Feed Testing In January 2018, Google will rid the GMC of the ability to upload a test feed.  Historically, in order to run a test feed the user would go through the same process as setting up an actual feed, but would designate it as a test feed.  Rather than creating and running test feeds, users will now run tests of the real feed in a few easy steps: Click the 3-dot icon on the right side of the page on the Feeds tab Select ‘upload input file’ Select the file Check ‘Upload as test’ And, finally, upload the file This is an improvement as the user will not have to ensure the settings are the same across feeds when setting up tests, as was the case prior. 2) More Access to Previous Feed Uploads Google now allows users to access the past ten feed uploads, compared to a previous maximum of five.  The advantage of this new feature is that, in lieu of downloading an old feed and re-uploading it into the GMC, reprocessing a feed is only a click away as long as it is one of the last five feeds uploaded.  Simply select the feed that you want to re-upload, click the 3-dot icon, and click “Re-process feed.” 3) Options for Primary and Supplemental Feeds The addition of the primary and supplemental feeds will be most impactful for advertisers who may not have access to a feed management platform.  While this does not affect us here at Merkle (because of our current capabilities), it allows advertisers the ability to provide supplemental data by joining on the ID to the existing information in the primary feed. For example, it is now possible to add GTIN’s or flag products as ‘best sellers’ by joining a supplemental feed to the primary feed via product ID’s for those brands which cannot create a single feed containing all the necessary information.  With this new addition, it appears that Google is attempting to provide some of the typical features available from a specialized feed management optimizer to the built-in functionality of the merchant center. 4) Ability to Submit One Feed to Multiple Countries Previously, retailers running separate PLA feeds for multiple countries had to upload a separate feed for each locale. The new feed experience allows for a multi-country feed containing multiple languages and countries within one file. For advertisers selling to a variety of countries, this feature will help reduce the number of feeds requiring management and simplify setup in the Merchant Center. For a comprehensive list of the full feeds experience updates, click this link to Google Support.  Additional Changes to be Aware of: Historically, Google would send an email to the technical contact notifying the advertiser when a new feed has uploaded to the GMC.  Now, Google will only send an email if the number of valid items in the feed drops by 5%.  In the past, if the technical contact did not receive an email, it means there was no feed upload.  Today, it could mean there was no feed uploaded, or the feed that was uploaded is within the 5% threshold for valid products not dropping out of the feed.  The only way to ensure a feed ran properly is to log into the GMC daily to check the status of a feed upload. To find the timestamp of when a feed was uploaded to Google, advertisers must click into Product > Feeds > then select the Primary Feed.  The upload time will be listed for the 10 available feeds. Historically the timestamp was visible immediately after clicking into the feeds tab of GMC, but marketers must now select a specific feed in order to see this information. While the overall new feeds experience may be frustrating at first, the enhancements Google has provided are proving to be beneficial.  With enough exposure to the new experience couple[...]



Google’s Opportunities Tab Makes Prioritizing Product Feed Errors a Data-Driven Decision

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 12:41:03 +0000

As Google Product Listing Ads continue to grow in importance for retailers, it’s important that product feeds are as data-rich and accurate as possible to provide the best experience for customers as well as maximize ad performance. With all the other competing priorities in managing a Google Shopping and broader PPC program, seemingly low-priority warnings and errors in the Google Merchant Center can potentially fall to the wayside as other more important and pressing matters take center stage. Those low-priority errors can sometimes remain unattended to, mostly because it has never been abundantly clear what the impact of certain warnings or errors had on actual ad performance for advertisers. That is, until now. In an attempt to help advertisers diagnose and prioritize product feed issues, Google released a new Opportunities report in the Merchant Center three weeks ago after several months of closed Beta testing. The new tab details the impact on traffic that a given disapproval has, making it easier to prioritize which feed errors to tackle first. As Google continues placing further emphasis on Google product identifiers (GTINs) and tightens restrictions on data-rich fields like product images, it’s important to know which Merchant Center issues are worth prioritizing. Using the Opportunities tab, you can get insight into exactly which disapproved or warned products are impacting performance and deserve attention. Taking Advantage of Opportunities So how do we use it? The Opportunities offering lives under the Products tab in the Merchant Center, coexisting alongside the Diagnostics, Feeds, and List tabs. When a user clicks into the tab, they are greeted by curated suggestions (or “opportunities”) that correspond to the current errors in the Diagnostics tab. At first glance, Google displays the number of products that are affected by a given error, and the estimated weekly Shopping click impact that the error is causing. When clicking into an opportunity, the user is directed to an expanded view of the top 25 products receiving the error, and the estimated weekly clicks missed by each product due to its disapproval. This is where the true value of the Opportunity beta shows. If you are having trouble fighting back product errors and warnings, fixing the problems at hand can be daunting and sometimes seem to be more trouble than they are worth. This view allows us to prioritize products that drive meaningful levels of traffic, while working on a broader solution to cover the rest of the products. This insight is especially helpful for those who manually edit their feed whenever a change is needed, because it establishes a list of priorities and expectations. But those with feed editing and optimization tools shouldn’t turn a blind eye here, either. Knowing the value and cost of leaving errors unresolved makes communicating necessary changes to clients much easier. That additional performance context may be the necessary push that’s needed to drive changes in the feed. Okay, so it’s clear this tool will be a big help in prioritizing errors, but how is Google calculating weekly clicks for a product that’s not currently running ads? Well, there are several factors that Google is basing its estimation on. How Does Google Calculate Estimated Weekly Clicks? First, Google takes into account past performance of the affected item and base the estimation on historical data. In addition, Google looks at performance of similar items that are currently live in Shopping. According to Google, similarity is determined by a number of things, but most notably: titles, descriptions, GTINs, and Google Product Categories. Google admits that, of course, seasonality, bid changes, and budget constraints are all less predictable, and could skew estimation. Keeping that in mind, the Opportunities tab is most valuable for insight into directional impact, rather than exact click share missed. All that said, this additional context is extremely helpful for prioritizing pesky errors th[...]



Preparing Your Amazon Account for the Holidays

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 14:37:45 +0000

According to the National Retail Federation, 54% of consumers begin researching holiday purchases in October or earlier. The time to optimize accounts for the holidays is now! More customers are starting their product searches on Amazon than anywhere else on the web; we’ve compiled our top tips to help you capture those customers.

Work put in over the next couple of weeks will pay dividends deep into the holiday season in helping to ensure strong performance. Start with a solid backbone of product data, layer on smart campaign optimizations, and incorporate insights from last year’s performance to fully recognize the potential of Amazon. A few key areas of focus include:

  • Product page optimization
  • Budget and bidding considerations
  • Campaign and keyword strategies
  • Promotions

Are your accounts ready for holiday? Use our checklist as a comprehensive guide to prepare.

(image)



Product Data Tips for a Successful Holiday Shopping Season on Google PLAs

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 13:03:24 +0000

As the 2017 holiday season draws near, it is imperative for advertisers to make sure their product data is in the best shape possible to capitalize on the anticipated lift in Google Shopping Campaign traffic. We’ve seen an uptick in Google auditing of Merchant Centers in the last two months or so which can lead to product disapprovals and possible account suspension if issues are not addressed. Here are four things for advertisers to address to set themselves up for success during the coming months. Localize Your PLAs to Prevent Unwarranted Disapproval Several Merkle clients have encountered an issue with how Google checks ads for correct currency from countries outside the U.S. An example illustrates this problem best: Big Box Clothing has set up their website to dynamically change the currency depending on where a user is searching from (ex: a shopper in France would see prices in Euros while a shopper in Canada would see prices in Canadian dollars). This is generally a best practice for site design because it creates a positive user experience for shoppers in different countries. However, when a Google employee in another country like India clicks through on a PLA to check the landing page, they expect to see the price in USD because that is what is passed in the feed. Instead, they are served a price in INR, and perceive this as a violation and issue a suspension warning even though the advertiser hasn’t really done anything wrong. This suspension warning can occur even if the advertiser is only running PLAs targeting the US. To counteract this issue, you will most likely need to have your technical team localize all product listing ads by appending country and currency information to the URL of each item. This may be the most immediately critical step on this list as most companies go into a code freeze leading up to the holiday season. If this suspension warning is handed down after that occurs, you may be stuck on the outside looking in when it comes to Google Shopping. Check and Update Sales Tax Information Google’s bots crawl your site for tax information on items and compare what they find to the information stored in the Google Merchant Center (GMC). If a bot finds the two values don’t match, then Google will issue a suspension warning to the account. You can set and update this information at the state level in the Tax tab of the GMC. Here’s a helpful table to help you decide which setup is best for you: Source: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/7052209 According to Google, if accurate tax information cannot be submitted, the best course of action would be to overestimate the tax amount; this will, at the very least, prevent products from being disapproved. Match GMC Shipping Information to What Is On-Site Incorrect shipping information is another suspension-worthy offense that can easily be avoided. Rates are set at the account level with plenty of options to make sure your GMC reflects how you charge for shipping on-site. If your site is using something more complex than or in addition to a simple tiered cost structure (ex: orders < $50 = $3.99 shipping, orders > $50 = free shipping) you will want to populate the shipping label attribute column in the feed. This will allow you to set shipping using item weight, carrier rates, customer location, etc. The key here is to pay attention to the small details, like setting accurate pricing thresholds and making sure products are tagged correctly in the 'shipping label' column. If you have recently made changes to shipping rates on site in preparation for the holiday shopping season, it is especially pertinent that you double-check this section of your GMC. Google offers a very detailed help page to assist advertisers with shipping settings. Perform a Merchant Center “Check-Up” Now is also the perfect time to address any errors or warnings that are showing up in the product tab of your GMC, which can occur more frequently than the suspension w[...]



Your 2017 Holiday Win List for Paid Search and Media

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 17:05:29 +0000

A few weeks ago, we hosted a webinar that dove into important aspects of paid search and digital media planning necessary to execute for the quickly approaching holiday season. In the webinar, which is available on demand, we elaborated on a few key areas of management, including how to build an effective holiday calendar, ways to target audiences using cutting-edge methods, and how to use digital to drive in-store purchases. Here, we’ll briefly touch on some of the points covered within these topics; for a more extensive discussion of these and other strategic areas of focus you should watch the webinar. Building an effective holiday calendar Each holiday period’s scheduling is a little different than the last due to the nature of the shifting number of days between Thanksgiving, when holiday shopping demand traditionally begins in earnest, and Christmas. Thus, variables like the number of Mondays (when online shopping tends to pick up relative to other days of the week) and what day of the week a final shipping cutoff might occur are always changing from year to year. There are, however, some overarching trends that can help inform holiday planning. For example, while Cyber Monday is still the largest online sales day of the holiday season, Black Friday is the fastest growing, as shoppers are increasingly logging on instead of lining up for Black Friday deals. This means your digital strategy needs to account for increased demand ahead of Cyber Monday. Particularly in the areas of display advertising, video, and paid social, brands should be planning the breakdown of spend between remarketing and prospecting well ahead of Thanksgiving. One popular strategy is to consider prospecting more aggressively ahead of the holidays — to retargeting to those users once holiday shopping starts in earnest. Finally, be sure to look at your historical holiday performance overall but also by category/channel/device/etc., so that you can create this year’s holiday plan with any desired improvements and with your brand’s nuances in mind. Cutting-edge audience targeting methods Marketers have more audience levers available now than ever before across the different digital marketing channels, and sound holiday strategy requires a smart plan on how to use these audiences effectively. If you read Merkle’s blog last holiday season, you know that we advocate for creating Google Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) specifically for holiday shoppers. Because these lists don’t backfill at all, advertisers have to create lists ahead of the days that they’re intended to capture users. Along with creating lists during this year’s holiday season, consider what CRM data you can leverage to re-engage customers that have purchased from you in the past during the holiday season. These lists can easily be pushed to both paid social and display channels for targeting or look-alike modeling, or used in the same fashion on Google through RLSA. Hopefully you planned ahead last year and have these lists to call on this year. If not, certainly consider building out holiday-focused lists ahead of Thanksgiving, or collect this first-party data within your CRM system this year for use next year. In paid social and display media, it’s key to implement platform pixels and begin building audiences well ahead of the holidays, as well as to consider extending audience duration. One advertiser found that 55 percent of Cyber Weekend sales had a first touch prior to Thanksgiving, so it’s important to ensure that remarketing efforts during the holidays are reaching users who may have clicked far in advance. Use digital to drive in-store purchases It’s no secret that shoppers often look online before heading to a brick-and-mortar location for purchases, so advertisers with physical store locations need to be thinking about how digital can help increase store foot traffic. That means taking advantage of local-focused ad[...]



What the Change to Siri Search from Bing to Google Means for Paid Search

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 13:42:28 +0000

Yesterday it was announced that Apple is changing the default search engine of its Siri voice assistant web search results, as well as Spotlight on Mac, from Bing to Google. Apple statements regarding the change identify consistency as the key motivator, as it seeks to bring these results in line with those featured by default in traditional searches on Safari on iOS, where Google is already the default search provider.

Impacts to the Paid Search Landscape

While both Google and Bing have long touted impressive growth stats surrounding the rise of voice search, I’ve contended in the past that there’s little evidence that the types of voice commands and searches that are happening are currently much of a concern to most advertisers. This is because we’ve yet to see voice search meaningfully impact the types of queries driving paid and organic impressions, and because surveys such as this one show primary uses to be commands such as playing a song or calling someone rather than truly searching (though to be fair, aren’t we all truly searching?).

Perhaps the best evidence that voice search has yet to make a meaningful mark for many brands, however, is the fact that Bing has made no headway in gaining back paid search traffic from Google over the past couple of years while it has been the default search engine for Siri. In Q2, Google accounted for 97% of all US phone paid search clicks at Merkle, up from 95% last Q2.

(image)

Not only was Bing the default engine for Siri over that time, but also other voice assistants Cortana, Alexa, and Hound. And yet, Google’s mobile paid search growth continued to outpace that of Bing all the same.

There is the possibility that Google will be able to better monetize Siri queries than Bing was, but with 97% mobile paid ad traffic share, Google stands to gain very little in the way of immediate ad traffic share from its new status even if it is significantly better at monetization. Whatever the effect of this change might be, it will certainly be felt more heavily by Bing.

(image)



Google Introduces Absolute Top Impression Share Metric For Shopping

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 22:31:37 +0000

Google recently launched Absolute Top Impression Share (ATIS) as a competitive metric for Shopping to give advertisers further insight into ad prominence within the product carousel. Advertisers will be able to see how often ads are showing in the most prominent position with the greatest potential for clicks and visibility. The ATIS metric can be found in AdWords Next and viewed for Shopping ads and Local Inventory Ads, across devices, and at the campaign, ad group and product group levels. To add the ATIS metric in AdWords Next, click on the 'modify columns' button in the upper right corner above the designated list of campaigns, ad groups, or product groups. 'Search abs. top IS' is an option under Competitive Metrics and can be applied along with other desired metrics. ATIS is calculated as the number of times an ad shows in the most prominent position out of the total opportunities to show in that prominent position. Similar to impression share and click share, total opportunities for ATIS include auctions where an ad is shown in any position, as well as auctions an ad participated and was competitive in, but did not show. The most prominent position is the position with the highest CTR, which Google currently identifies as the leftmost position on the carousel. Bid pushes for Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and /or Local Inventory Ads (LIAs) should result in a positive, or at least neutral, impact on ATIS as the metric accounts for the increase in eligible auctions that can come with bid pushes. This is different from text ad average position, where bid pushes can result in lower average position in some circumstances by making a keyword eligible for more auctions. ATIS should help advertisers better understand how to bid for top products by giving insight into where there might be room for opportunity within the competitive space. The rapid growth of Amazon’s Google Shopping home goods impression share since last December poses a challenge for retailers’ PLA/LIA visibility on the SERP.  With the introduction of ATIS, retailers now have another avenue to evaluate dominance in the auction in terms of the prominent position. Increasing opportunities to show in the spot with the highest CTR may be another method for advertisers to maintain strength against Amazon and other major competitors. Much like position one for text ads, it is unlikely that advertisers will optimize to show in the top spot of the carousel for all products all the time, as bids are most often set based on the expected value of traffic rather than ad position. While increasing prominence in the top spot will likely increase traffic, the traffic may not necessarily be as qualified.  There are multiple cases where this insight into shopping visibility may be advantageous. Google offered a few different scenarios for ATIS optimization opportunity:  Category & Brand Ownership Whether it be bestsellers or the highest impact categories, the ability to see ATIS at the ad group and product group level provides another benchmark when pushing on the products where high visibility is most important to the retailer. ATIS can give a sense of prominence in categories or subcategories that are beginning to trend based on seasonality. ATIS can also act as a window into the most competitive categories. Ownership on an advertiser's own brand space, when looking at campaigns targeted toward branded queries, is another area in which ATIS could come in handy.   Promotional Periods Since a common strategy is to push bids on products during promotional periods, ATIS will reveal how much of the most valuable PLA space retailers are owning during a time where high visibility can be a priority. For LIAs, ATIS can be implemented as another benchmark for the advertiser to use when looking to support promotions both in-store and online.   Key Shopping Days[...]



Amazon Opens Up Headline Search Ads to Third-Party Sellers

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 15:07:40 +0000

Earlier this month, Amazon started allowing select third-party sellers to run Headline Search Ads. Previously, this ad format was only available to vendors, or manufacturers that sell inventory wholesale directly to Amazon. This added capability expands the Amazon Marketing Services available to third-party sellers, which were formerly restricted to advertising on Amazon only through Sponsored Product Ads. What are Headline Search Ads? Headline Search Ads are keyword-targeted banner ads that show on Amazon search results pages above the other product-specific results. The ad format works well for showcasing a product assortment, since it features up to three in-stock products. Several elements, including the headline, image, and landing page, are customizable. If a shopper clicks on one of the three products, they will land directly on that product page; if they click elsewhere on the ad, they will go to an Amazon landing page of the advertiser’s choosing. For vendors, we’ve observed strong sales-per-click numbers on Headline Search Ads that are comparable to those of Sponsored Products campaigns. However, overall volume is lower than Sponsored products since only one ad can show on each SERP. What is the Impact of This Change? Adding third-party sellers to Headline Search Ads will significantly increase competition for this format, driving up Amazon’s ad revenue in turn. Why Amazon decided to open this format up to third-party advertisers now is left to speculation. From a financial standpoint, it’s unclear what Amazon’s motivation might have been for limiting this advertising format to first-party sellers in the first place. On the campaign management side, however, there are clearer reasons that explain why this format has only been available for first-party sellers. The product is still relatively new overall for Amazon. A staged roll-out could have been an effort to tweak and fine-tune the tool before expanding it more broadly. Additionally, there are some reporting attribution challenges that make the value of the ads tough to gauge, especially for third-party sellers. When a shopper clicks and converts through a Headline Search Ad, the advertiser will see an order in their reporting as long as a product from that brand gets purchased within two weeks of the click, regardless of whether it was purchased from the advertiser. Let’s walk through an example of that to more clearly illustrate what’s happening. Let’s say ACME tools is a manufacturer selling on Amazon and they are running a Headline Search Ad for their power drills. A shopper clicks through that ad and is taken to a product page. They browse a few different sizes, and ultimately purchase an ACME drill from a reseller called Tools Supply Plus. The revenue associated with this order would still show up in the ACME tools Headline Search Ad reporting, even though ACME will not receive the money directly for that sale. For vendors, this is not as problematic because, as the manufacturer, they eventually share in some part of the revenue regardless of which seller the shopper chooses. However, for a third-party seller this can be very challenging to navigate. It can cause substantial reporting discrepancies between advertising reports and actual revenue realized. Knowing That, How Do I Wade into Headline Search Ads Effectively as a Third-Party Seller? The above reporting issue also illustrates a second challenge with Headline Search Ads for third-party sellers – if managed haphazardly, many ad dollars can be spent on shoppers clicking through your ad to purchase from a competitor. As such, Headline Search Ads are best used by third-party sellers for two sets of products: 1) Those where you’re consistently winning the Buy Box. The Buy Box “is the box on a product detail page where customers can begin the purchasing process by adding [...]



Translating Insights into Better Marketing Programs

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 23:35:56 +0000

Today, I thought I would talk to you a little bit about leveraging insights and analytics in order to improve your marketing programs.

So whose job is it to ensure insights turn into action? I think a lot of you would probably say, "Well, that's the analytics team." We actually think it's everybody. The entire team should be focused on measurable performance, whatever those KPIs are. That could be from the top of the funnel with awareness, all the way down to the bottom of the funnel when we're thinking about conversion.

We want to make sure we have those KPI frameworks in mind and that we're laddering back up to that for every step that we take. I'm sure you're wondering, "How do you get started?" So first, you establish your customer strategy and map out your KPI framework. Then, we would recommend that you would establish your data framework and create a roadmap in order to support that growth. Then, you want to look at your first-party data that you have available, and then consider any third-party data that you could use in order to enhance that first-party data.

Lastly, it's really important that there's partnership and alignment across all groups. That's internally and externally. So internally, you've got your analytics, strategy, agency services, relationship management; it’s working in concert with each other, and then with your clients, from a marketing product and even a measurement and analytics perspective.

We want to create a culture of curiosity and learning. So we want to constantly be thinking about, "How can we improve response? How can we get more people to respond?"

And if you'd like to learn more, you can explore our website, or you can email me at dfaust@merkleinc.com. I look forward to talking to you soon.

Note: Matt Snow and Steve Donohue contributed to the thinking behind this video.

(image)



Understanding Fidelity in Marketing

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:43:38 +0000

Fidelity is the new battleground in advertising. When we think of fidelity in music terms, we think about the exactness by which a voice or instrument can be replicated or recorded. In advertising, fidelity is the level of exactness by which a person can be persistently identified and tracked across digital and physical brand interactions.

An anonymous visitor to your site would be an example of low fidelity. In this case, the visitor is likely being tracked by a cookie placed on her browser, but we know little about that visitor, nor even who she is. That visitor can also easily wipe out that cookie or switch devices, leaving us no persistent understanding of who she is, her behaviors, interests, or intent. High fidelity definitions look different.

One example is a customer's relationship with a bank. When a consumer visits an ATM, pays a bill via online banking, or walks into a branch, she is identified by a personal ID unique to her, along with various passwords and pins for security. High fidelity is achieved when you understand and reach real people, not proxies.

Learn more about Merkle's 2017 Marketing Imperatives at merkleinc.com/imperatives.

(image)