All posts by unmarketed

Google Analytics 101: 18 Useful Custom Google Analytics Reports for SEO

The customizable features in Google Analytics are great for extracting maximum value from your data. 

Here I’ve gathered together a selection of custom reports, dashboards and advanced segments to help you measure SEO efforts more effectively.

Some you’ll need to create yourself, following the instructions, while the rest you can just click and download and save lots of time and effort.

Just click the download links when logged into you Google Analytics account to add them to your profile…

Custom reports

Custom reports are easy enough to create, even a relative novice like me can put one together.

They can be very valuable though, as they allow users to customize views according to their own business needs and the ability to allow others to access reports is great for sharing knowledge.

Here are some ready-made reports that you can install straight away.

SEO reporting

This one comes from James Gurd, and is a useful SEO reporting suite showing keywords, landing pages and ecommerce metrics.

Download SEO reporting suite

Keyword analysis

This report looks at your most popular keywords (minus the ones that Google aren’t telling you about) and shows various metrics, including conversion rates, goal completions and page load time.

Other tabs also show engagement and revenue metrics.

Download keyword analysis report

Keyword analysis report

Non-branded keywords report

This report filters out the branded keywords and shows visits, goal completions and revenue.

You will need to go in and edit the report to exclude your own branded keywords, whatever they may be.

As you can see from the screenshot, I’ve excluded ‘econsultancy’ but I should also remove the hyphenated and other versions:

Download non-branded keyword report

404 pages report

This custom report from Peter Meinertzhagen is one you’ll have to complete yourself, but it’s worth the effort. It’s very useful for catching inbound links that are returning 404’s.

The screenshot below shows what the report settings look like. You need to enter the title for you 404 page on the ‘page title’ filter. You’ll then get URLs looking a little like this in the report:/404.html page=/pageonyourwebsite/&from=http://externalwebsitelinkingtowrongpage/

SEO goal breakdown report

A useful collection of SEO metrics here (HT: Dinkum Interactive).

Download SEO goal breakdown report

Referring sites report

This is from Anna Lewis, and shows referring sites alongside goal completions and conversion rates, to help you find out what value you are receiving from referral traffic.

Download referring sites report

Link analysis report

This one from SEObook allows you to see which of your inbound links are sending the most valuable traffic, showing visits, goal completions and more.

Download link analysis report

Which keywords are bringing visitors to your content? 

This custom report filters out the branded keywords and shows visits, goal completions and revenue. It allows you to see which terms are driving traffic to the site, subject to the usual  restrictions.

You’ll also need to go in and edit the report to exclude your own branded keywords.

Download non-branded keyword report

Custom dashboards

Dashboards allow a quick, often real-time view of activity on your site, and are great for monitoring the results of campaigns, and new content releases as they happen.

SEO dashboard

This, from Anna Lewis again, shows key organic search metrics: performance of brand/non-brand keywords, top landing pages and more.

Lots of handy metrics in one quick view.

Download SEO dashboard

Organic monitoring dashboard

This one is broadly similar to Anna’s, but presents a few different stats.

Download organic monitoring dashboard

Find top content and keywords

I had this stored on my Google Analytics profile for so long I’ve forgotten the original source. Anyway, this shows the top-performing content and keywords in real-time.

Download finding top content and keywords dashboard

Realtime organic search dashboard

This one comes from Dan Barker (he has more useful realtime dashboards here) and provides a quick view of organic search volume and keywords.

As you can see, thanks to the fact that 95% of our organic traffic is (not provided), it doesn’t allow much insight for us, but you may have better luck.

Download realtime organic dashboard

Advanced segments

Segments allow you to add filters to existing reports and can be used with any default or custom reports in Google Analytics.

Here’s a quick guide to creating custom segments.

Organic searches without not provided

This one filters out all the pesky (not provided) searches so you can concentrate on analysing the keyword referral data you have left.

Download organic searches minus not provided segment

Google+ traffic

Who knows? There might actually be some coming to your site…

In our case, there’s not an awful lot so far this year, as this segment shows.

Download Google+ traffic segment

Search queries with multiple keywords

This one comes from the excellent Avinash Kaushik, and there’s more in-depth explanation on his blog. You’ll see how much time you’ll save with this if you read how Avinash created it.

It’s a way of measuring long-tail traffic, and shows visits with three or more keywords in the search term.

Branded vs non-branded keywords

Of course, branded keywords are unique to your business, so you’ll need to create this one yourselves. Here’s how…

Click on ‘+new segment’ and select ‘exclude’ from the first drop-down. After this, choose ‘dimension’ and select ‘keyword’.

Then it’s a case of adding your brand keywords to exclude from the non-branded report. If you have more than one, select ‘add AND statement’ and repeat the process for other brand terms.

For the branded keywords, it’s a similar process, only you need to include the keywords you excluded in the non-brand segment.

Filter inquisitive traffic

This is not a custom report, but a very useful custom advanced segment, from Paul Gailey Alburquerque.

It filters out inquisitive traffic which contains the words ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘why’ etc. and shows the related landing pages. Handy for us, to see what questions people need the answers to.

Download ‘inquisitive traffic’ segment

Google Analytics advance segment

Organic traffic with conversions

This segment shows organic search traffic that converts:

Download organic traffic with conversions

Advertisements

Facebook and TV: can it compete with Twitter for live engagement?

One need only look at the trending topics on any given evening to know that Twitter is a popular tool for discussing television shows.

The network has become the go-to forum for reaction to TV programmes and is one of the few things that ensures people still watch live TV rather than relying on on-demand services.

However a new report suggests that Facebook may also be a popular talking shop for TV shows.

This is a topic we’ve previously discussed in articles looking at why Facebook can’t beat Twitter for social TV and a best practice post on driving live engagement.

But the new report suggests we may have been wrong to dismiss Facebook’s potential for TV chatter, with up to a quarter of the television audience posting content related to the show they are watching on Facebook.

And as we’ve come to expect from social media users, 80% of this chatter comes from a mobile device.

It’s worth pointing out that this report was published by Facebook in partnership with SecondSync, so there are clearly some vested interests to be aware of, however the analysis does seem to hold water.

A minute-by-minute breakdown of aggregated TV-related Facebook interactions shows that the majority of activity happens during the show and there are peaks of activity that map directly to key events in the telecast.

These graphs show how people reacted to an NFL playoff game and the X Factor UK final.

A separate report on Twitter usage, which was also published in partnership with SecondSync, reveals similar peaks in tweets during TV shows.

In 2012 The X Factor drove more than 14m tweets throughout the entire series, with 1.12m coming during the final show.

The eventual winner, James Arthur, was mentioned 387,000 times compared to 86,000 mentions for Jahmene Douglas.

Spikes in Twitter activity during X Factor 2012 final

Types of engagement

Looking at the types of interactions that take place on Facebook, ‘likes’ are easily the most common form of activity followed by comments. This is to be expected as ‘likes’ are the easiest and most non-committal form of interaction that it’s possible to do.

This chart shows how interactions were spread across The Sound of Music Live TV show:

Did You Catch That?: Answers You Should About Mobile SEO

To keep our guides the best they can be, we go to those working at the coalface of search marketing to get their contributions so they are relevant and up-to-date.

One of our contributors is Alex Moss, director at FireCask. Alex contributed to the mobile SEO section of the guide, so we asked him to share his knowledge following Joe Friedlein’s thoughts on on-page optimisation. His thoughts are below…

You’ve written about mobile SEO for our latest best practice guide. What do you see as the main trend which marketers should be paying attention to?

A lot of sites I see do use responsive design which is great. One thing that people don’t do on a technical level is consider content that should be loaded dependent on the device viewing that page.

There are plenty of redundant content blocks I see on mobile versions of a site that are great for the desktop experience but not so useful for mobile.

Understand what content needs to be served and only serve what is needed.

As mobile becomes more significant, do you think the quality of the user experience on mobile will factor into how pages are ranked or displayed in the SERPs? Can companies do anything to rank higher on mobile?

Just keep on optimising as you would for desktop, don’t obsess.

Obsession usually causes paranoia which leads to over optimisation.

Q: What do you think are the most serious issues your customers encounter when they interact with your brand via a mobile device? 

Source: Reducing Customer Struggle Report

Does Hummingbird and natural language search fundamentally change how SEOs should plan their campaigns for mobile?

Yes. Connect more with current events and local. People who use a mobile are higher quality visits but need to know the answer to their search even faster than they would if searching for the same term on a desktop.

Utilising rich snippets (which again is usually part of your general SEO strategy) with local and time-based structured data tells Google that you want to share more information beyond the standard title and META description.

As always, your site and landing pages within your site need to be informative enough to provide an answer to the query being asked. The basic principles are still there.

What do you think Google’s next move could be when it comes to mobile search?

More integration with Maps, Google+ and other related Google apps. I also think it will start to use more collected data from your history to form more contextual results based on your search habits.

What’s one piece of advice you would give for those looking to get the most out of mobile search?

Ranking is one thing, but the landing page is more important. Check in analytics how your mobile visitors behave in comparison to your desktop visitors. Check page loading times by using segmentation to separate the type of visitor.

Is there a higher bounce rate or lower engagement or conversion rate? If so then there’s something that needs to be optimised.

There’s always something to optimise 🙂

How marketers can drive engagement at every phase of the purchase cycle

It’s not just the moment of purchase that matters. To successfully build customer loyalty requires fresh marketing strategies at every phase of the purchase cycle: before, during, and after.

Before deciding to spend their hard-earned money with your brand, consumers receive countless messages that detail product announcements and ways to save money. To break through this noise, a streamlined and efficient engagement strategy is critical.

At the time of purchase, on the other hand, with consumers facing options from dozens of competitors, brands must change the shopping game to aid consumers in making an educated buying decision.

Finally, after a purchase is made, your brand has a choice of either allowing the customer to walk away in anonymity or continue the conversation by creating an identified and meaningful ongoing relationship.

Whether it’s before, during, or after, there are various tactics that marketers can utilize to effectively engage with consumers along the path to purchase. Read on for our tips at every transaction stage.

Pre-purchase

When it comes to a pre-purchase marketing strategy, getting consumers’ attention is key.

While a brand may feel their message is valuable and compelling, consumers have so many brands vying for their attention that it becomes hard for a brand to stand out.

Instead of the old school approach of pushing a marketing message out to consumers, brands need to create campaigns that are more about mutual value rather than the simply telling a one sided story.

Once a brand establishes mutual value, it can then inform consumers on specific products and features that help raise brand awareness and situate the brand top-of-mind with consumers before they make purchase decisions.

Madewell’s ‘Are You Madewell?’ campaign exemplifies the kind of pre-purchase strategy that grabs consumer attention.

Instead of a one-dimensional product recommender as a way to learn about consumers and recommend products, the brand designed a personality test that asked questions such as “your dream Saturday afternoon would include…” and “what’s your biggest pet peeve?”

In creating a personalized test experience with a curated product recommender, the brand provided interesting, valuable information to consumers about themselves, Madewell products, and how they relate to the Madewell brand.

Once a consumer is aware of a brand’s products, the next phase of the purchase funnel is ‘consideration’ where consumers decide between their most likely purchases.

In Pier 1’s recent ‘Pin It and Win It’ campaign, the home decor brand encouraged consumers to design Pinterest boards featuring the products with a chance to win their design.

‘Pin It and Win It’ is really a digital and social shopping experience. The experience of having consumers visually select their favorite products that they would like to win is the same consideration process of selecting the products you’d like to buy but without requiring the purchase hurdle.

While only a handful of consumers will win, all participants have gone through the process of identifying the products that they would like to own.

By educating your consumers in an interesting and engaging way before the purchase, they will be much more inclined to consider your brand when making the decision to buy.

During the purchase

Most consumers have busy, fast paced lives, and have developed shopping habits as a means of efficiently using their time.

The challenge for brands is how to change shopping habits to steal a consumer away from their competition or to drive incremental purchases from existing consumers.

Old Navy’s ‘SnapAppy’ mobile campaign demonstrates an excellent way to get consumers to change their shopping habits.

Consumers download the Snap Appy application and can unlock fun surprises by snapping pictures of specific icons that can be found in a variety of locations in-store and at oldnavy.com.

This multi-platform solution provides an experience and an incentive to change a consumer’s heads-down habit based shopping experience both online and in-store. Getting consumers to change their shopping habits is the first step to generate incremental sales.

For brands with a physical store presence, engagement at purchase time cannot be achieved without help from store-level employees.

With its ‘Corner of Healthy and Happy Sweepstakes’, drugstore giant Walgreens provided a digital experience that enabled store employees to learn more about the brand’s new positioning.

Employees played a multi-question online and mobile trivia game about the history of Walgreen’s and finished by submitting a statement about how they helped others stay happy and healthy.

The store employee is perhaps the most important representation of a brand’s marketing position and this unique effort from Walgreens successfully educated and engaged employees, created a more fulfilling shopping experience for its consumers.

Whether online, via mobile, or in-store, changing consumer shopping habits and involving employees provides the backbone of engagement efforts during purchase.

Post-purchase

While it may seem like the work is over once the purchase is complete, driving engagement does not stop there.

To use a dating metaphor, do we simply say “goodbye” and hope they call us for another date or do we seize that moment and put a little thought and effort into creating an ongoing relationship.

Open forums for feedback are excellent channels to connect with consumers after purchase, gain insight and turn purchasers into advocates.

In Taco Bell’s ‘Tell Us What You Think’ campaign to support its new Cantina Bell brand, the brand asks consumers to reveal what they really think about menu items, and then displays the percentage of consumers that are ‘believers’ in the Cantina brand and the percentage of consumers who are ‘skeptics’.

Additionally, Taco Bell displays Tweets from both ‘believers’ and ‘skeptics’. By providing a fully transparent way to engage with the brand, Taco Bell generates compelling and authentic product validation.

If Taco Bell had elected to cleanse the feedback and only provide positive responses, the platform becomes a packaged marketing message instead of a credible forum.

Loyalty programs are valuable platforms to help your brand connect with its audience post-purchase by getting to know the consumer based on past interactions and creating ongoing, personalized communication.

In cosmetics company Bare Escentuals’ ‘Friends and Benefits’ customer loyalty program, the brand tried something new. Instead of asking consumers to accrue points or keep track of discounts, Bare Escentuals uses personalized gifts and invitations to special events to develop emotional bonds with customers and keep them coming back.

Even better, the loyalty program provides insight into consumer preferences and allows Bare Escentuals to make business decisions based on the information they receive.

Tapping into mobile is an extremely effective way to drive customer loyalty post-purchase.

For example, Toys ‘R’ Us mobile CRM strategy asks consumers to join the brand’s mobile program by texting a short code, for special offers and deals, keeping the conversation going with the consumer after the initial sale is made.

Like Bare Escentuals’ loyalty program, Toys ‘R’ Us mobile program provides extra information on consumer interest, allowing the brand to adjust its business strategy accordingly.

Taco Bell, Bare Escentuals, and Toys ‘R’ Us demonstrate how effective post-purchase engagement strategies can be. Take advantage of customer advocacy, loyalty, and mobile CRM to continue developing relationships with your consumers even after purchases are made.

Increase engagement before, during, and after purchase

Developing a pre-, during, and post-purchase strategy is essential to fostering meaningful relationships with consumers.

Going beyond traditional campaigns, especially by incorporating data, mobile, and in-store tactics, can help your brand guarantee valuable engagement with consumers and drive customer loyalty.

Real Talk: No Engaging In Social Media? Fine. But Own Your Brand, Set Expectations

There was an interesting conversation that happened on Twitter between a comedian and (what turned out to be) an impostor pretending to be a major brand (Pace Salsa).

The short of it is the impostor manning the fake Pace Salsa Twitter account went about favoriting a bunch of statuses not very complementary of Pace.

Campbell Soup Co, the owner of Pace responded (eventually) to let us know it was not real. At least, after a bunch of speculation by blogs and users about what was going on. This was the correct response. And whether you want to say they were “late” or purposefully enjoying some free PR we can’t know.

Although the whole thing was fairly benign and not damaging to their brand in my opinion, it could easily have been worse.

But this never had to happen at all for Pace (or your brand). It is understandable that Campbell Soup Co has decided Pace as a brand does not have resources to participate in every social channel (such as Twitter) at this time. We can argue that’s a silly move and of course they should nurture their fans there, but that’s their decision / mistake to make. However, this could have been a non-starter. Here’s the official Pace Twitter Account:

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 10.11.32 AM

Of course, we don’t know it’s official because Pace doesn’t write this in their bio. Heck, they don’t even bother linking back to the PaceFoods.com homepage. They just respond to a bunch of people (and spam their own followers by adding a . before the response) asking people “where is your salsa made?”

It’s clear why an internet troll had such an easy time pretending to be this brand: the brand didn’t look like they were involved in social at all, so it was easy to pretend to be them. So easy, a spammer (even with an underscore in their name) could pretend to be the brand. And why not, they looked more official than the above.

Naturally I was curious about Pace’s other digital assets at this point so I went over to their website and saw (in December!) they sadly still have their summer promotion up:

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 10.16.49 AM

I was sad to see this as growing up I have fond memories of enjoying Pace Salsa with Tacos and chips. At the least I want to see that the people behind the brand care about delighting their users. But even if they do care, the messages they send with their above marketing say they don’t. We tweeted to Campbell Soup Co, and they kindly responded and let me know they’ll get to work on this which is great. At least the larger company is listening and doing a good job here.

The point of today’s post is one I’m surprised still needs to be made: set expectations with your channels and look official, even if you aren’t planning on engaging right now. Of course, you should participate, but if for whatever reason you can’t at the very least set some expectation (for example: this is the official Twitter account for Pace, we’re not updating right now but visit our site for the latest) and protect your brand in that channel.

And with your own site and static content: look, I get it if you can’t update all the time. But if you’re going to do that, be evergreen so you don’t create an experience that leaves users scratching their heads.

What’s sad is Pace is definitely not alone here. And while we expected these types of mistakes in 2004, there aren’t really excuses anymore. We need to push our favorite brands to do better so they continue to exist.

LEGO Movie: 100 minute advert strategy or content marketing genius?

You really don’t need me to tell you that there’s a LEGO movie out right now. It’s impossible to ignore.

Heck, even as I write this there’s a Culture Show special on BBC2 right now about how LEGO has influenced architecture. Funnily enough, when constructing our house, the builders ran out of red bricks halfway up and had to finish with yellows and greens.

Warner Bros. began the marketing push seven months ago in June 2013 with a rapturously received teaser trailer and continued with a solid social marketing strategy, which saw very close engagement on social channels that continues through to this week of release.

ITV even turned over an entire advert break during its Sunday night edition of Dancing on Ice to LEGO, during which adverts from BT, Confused.com and Premier Inn were remade with LEGO models.

Of course, amateur and professional animators alike have been remaking existing films, TV shows, music videos, pop culture moments and historical events in LEGO for years now.

LEGO fans don’t need the excuse of a movie to get their old buckets of bricks out from the loft, in fact they never got stored away in the first place.

As LEGO’s brand relations director Michael McNally recently explained in The Verge:

I think what we’ve really found is that Lego is a medium… it’s not a toy, it’s a medium for other people to tell their own stories and create their own adventures.

On a surprisingly low budget for a major Hollywood movie ($60m) The Lego Movie has exceeded its cost in its first weekend, making $69m in the US alone and also looks set to do what every blockbuster dreams of doing by becoming a ‘four-quadrant’ smash.

This is a film which appeals to all four major demographic groups: male, female, and the over & under 25 year-olds.

Marketing definitely has a lot do with it, the examples I’ve mentioned above are just a smattering of promotional material available, but what’s more interesting is how little Warner Bros. really had to do in order to market the film. The LEGO Movie will become a ‘four-quadrant’ success purely because of our affection for the product.

The point when LEGO got its marketing strategy dead-on is when it started treating adult and child one and the same.

From its social channels where it keeps a constant eye on the feeds and is super quick to engage and remain personal to its audience. To its CUUSOO page where it’s built a supportive and consistently imaginative community, LEGO’s invitation to its audience is a catch-all policy:“hey come on in, we’re all the same here, we’re just a bunch of people who love LEGO”.

Almost every media outlet going, including us (this my third article in a row about LEGO), has produced content around The LEGO Movie, not just because it’s topical, but because there is so much love for the brand. Almost every article written about it radiates with positivity and nostalgia.

Criticism

However there are grumbles. I have a friend who laughed in mine and my other friend’s faces because we were excited about seeing The Lego Movie. Four childless, over thirty-year-olds excited about the prospect of a LEGO movie.

“Have fun watching 25 minutes of adverts and trailers followed by another 100 minute long advert” I remember him saying witheringly.

In his hilarious and affectionately spiteful review of The Lego Movie, film critic Neil Alcock states:

This particular ad is for a brand of plastic bricks called LEGO, and the genius of this marketing campaign for the popular kids’ toy is that you actually pay money to watch it. And people will. And then they will pay more money for LEGO, because the ad is so bloody good. Genius.

There may have been a point in all this marketing for the film where we forgot that LEGO is a product. A product being sold to us through fairly exceptional piece of content marketing.

Does that make it less valid?

All we need to do in order to answer that question, is to understand why we love LEGO the product.

LEGO appeals to two completely opposing personality types. Those that crave rules and order, and those that wish to remain as creatively free as their imaginations.

That sounded far more glib than I intended, but the point is that LEGO is timeless because it’s utterly adaptable to the user’s whim. LEGO has rules, if you wish to follow them, and the result – building this working thing exactly how it looks on the box – is a deeply satisfying experience.

Or you can treat the bricks just like a blank paper and pencil and make whatever your creativity allows.

David Beckham recently stated his love for the toy:

The last big thing I made was Tower Bridge… It had about 1,000 pieces. I think Lego sometimes helps to calm me down.

The Guardian’s Rupert Myers also makes an excellent point about the appeal of collecting LEGO as an adult:

Perhaps the novelty of returning to a much-loved toy in adulthood is that you can finally spend the sort of money that as a child you rarely got to blow on plastic figures; the realisation of long-held desires to build bigger, better, and to fulfil boyhood aspirations.

So why a movie?

The market’s desire to see a LEGO movie was at its highest point. US sales of LEGO increased to 26% in 2012, and this growth is largely attributed to its licensing deals with major film properties (and The Lone Ranger).

Lego is striking right now when it knows its stock is at its highest, and tactically using the strength of its partnerships to appeal to the largest audience possible.

That’s the other fascinating point about the movie: how it ties in all kinds of other franchise properties, from Batman to Lord of the Rings to Star Wars. It sounds like a ground-breaking prospect, although it is possible that Who Framed Roger Rabbit may have stole the march on that one.

LEGO has a far deeper emotional connection with its worldwide fans than other attempts at toy-based movie franchises. Transformers are a fondly regarded toy and the film was a novel experiment in marketing that nostalgia to a grown up audience, however those grown-ups didn’t carry on buying those toys into their adulthood.

Whereas I often sneak in a packet of LEGO minifigs into our shopping basket when we visit the supermarket.

In plain terms, we care about LEGO. Who on Earth really cares about Battleships? Or a Transformers franchise that has outstayed its welcome by three movies?

But then, quite objectively, those films just weren’t very good. The LEGO Movie is excellent, therefore it perhaps transcends criticism of whether it’s just an overlong advert for LEGO or not.

It’s a thoroughly entertaining, expertly crafted hour-and-a-half of superior escapist fun that happens to be based on a product we’ve loved for 65 years.

Would it have gotten made if it wasn’t set in a LEGO world? Probably not. Would it still be any good if it wasn’t set in a LEGO world? No.

I’ll leave the final word to McNally, who reveals this justification for making the movie.

It wasn’t like we needed a movie to help us sell more stuff.

Winning!: 3 Things To Consider for a Badass Mobile PPC Campaign

For PPC campaigns this year, one of the key challenges will be ensuring that the opportunity for increased sales via mobile traffic is efficiently and profitably taken.

Before we focus specifically on PPC traffic, there have been some really interesting statistics published recently to help put into context just how important mobile traffic will be this year:

  • 61% of shoppers used a smartphone before a shopping trip, spending more on average than those who didn’t.
  • In 2013, the percentage of in-store sales where mobile phones were used as part of the shopping journey in the UK stood at 6.8%. This equates to £18bn of sales, a figure 45% up on 2012.
  • For John Lewis, sales from click-and-collect jumped 60% compared with 2012.
  • In the grocery market, as much as 15% of UK sales, worth £900m, is thought to have been booked online between 20 and 23 December.
  • Rising consumer confidence coupled with the convenience of purchasing on a hand-held device has contributed to 50% of year-to-year mobile commerce growth in 2013 over 2012.
  • 40% of all PLA (product listing advert) clicks will occur on smartphones by the close of 2014.

As expected, the trend of visits continues in an upwardly motion, but importantly, the role of mobile traffic in the path to purchase is becoming more important (be it by influencing decisions, or as is happening more and more, the purchase itself).

So, to quickly set the scene for optimising your mobile PPC, here’s a…

…brief introduction to AdWords Enhanced Campaigns 

In mid-2013, Google completed the migration to Enhanced Campaigns, a format designed to allow you to better integrate your cross-device strategies.

Previous to this, many PPC experts had segmented their campaigns based on the device (one for desktop, one for tablet, one for mobile). Although this was the preferred method, it’s perhaps sub-optimal, requiring up-keeping three times as many campaigns.

Enhanced campaigns introduced a number of ‘mobile-specific’ features – most notably, the ‘bid multiplier’. What did this mean? Rather than having set a separate amount, your mobile bids would just be a factor of your overall bid (for example, a bid of -100% would turn off mobile activity).

Initial reactions were that this was a less flexible solution, but I’ve found some features to be highly useful for improving the mobile side of AdWords campaigns.

Three important strategies for improving your mobile AdWords results

To make the most of what is clearly now a huge opportunity, what strategies should you be including as part of your PPC campaign in 2014?

Below I outline three areas for consideration as part of your overall PPC strategy:

Use insightful reporting

At a very basic level, you should be clear about the split of traffic/cost/revenue between different device types.

How much traffic is coming from mobile and how does its behaviour compare to desktop and tablet?

To get more insight, we need to start considering the role of mobile in the user journey.

There are plenty of figures around which help to understand why we expect to see a lower conversion rate from mobile visitors: along with reservations about purchasing (#fact#) on a mobile device, the role of mobile visits can be slightly different, giving a need for understanding the value of these visits in the path to conversion.

For single-device paths, we can get good visibility of the touch-points, for example, using the Model Comparison Tool or Multi-Channel Funnels features of Google Analytics:

For cross-device paths, it becomes a lot more difficult for cookie-based tracking to provide this kind of detail. What we do have for AdWords campaigns are Estimated Conversions.

In Google’s own words:

Cross-device conversions start as a click on a search ad on Google.com on one device and end as a conversion on another device (or in a different web browser on the same device).

For example, say someone shops for ‘blue jeans’ on her mobile phone while waiting for the morning train. She clicks on a mobile ad for ABC Blue Jeans.  hen she gets to her office, she goes directly to the ABC website to make a purchase.

This is an example of a cross-device conversion. We calculate cross-device conversions using a sample of data from users who signed into multiple devices.

The last part in bold is important to understand: the ‘estimation’ of your conversion is achieved by aggregating data from a sample set of signed-in Google users.

By analysing data across thousands of advertisers. Google estimates incremental conversions can be somewhere between 2% and 12% depending on vertical.

In AdWords, this report would look something like this:

Taking the full picture into account allows you to make better decisions about your bidding strategies, and when you can see the full value, it enables you to make a better case for pushing for greater mobile presence.

Tailoring your campaigns for mobile

Given we have good awareness of differences in user behaviour depending on the current device in use, we should cater to this by ensuring the advertising is tailored specifically to mobile users.

There are a few options for doing this in AdWords:

Mobile-optimised ads:

Selecting that an advert’s device preference is ‘Mobile’ means that this specific advert will be shown to mobile users. This is useful for ensuring your proposition appeals to the mobile user.

Examples of tailoring ads could be:

  • Calls-to-action which appeal to mobile users (e.g. ‘Mobile friendly site’).
  • Specific offers which appeal specifically to mobile users.
  • Using shorter, more direct ad copy if ‘click-to-call’ buttons are truncating your text:

Mobile-only sitelinks:

It can be well worth creating differing strategies for your mobile and for desktop/tablet sitelinks.  Considerations for mobile sitelinks are:

there are only two shown, ensure that your two key sitelinks are given priority on mobile searches

deep-linking to sites of the section specifically to help mobile users quickly navigate the site (e.g. highlighting the ‘Best sellers’ or ‘New Range’ pages could help ‘fast-forward’ the user journey)

Be pro-active about improving landing page performance

As the lower mobile-site conversion can be a barrier which is limiting your exposure (by making competitive bid prices unprofitable), review the landing pages and find areas of opportunity.

But this is a PPC article, not a conversion optimisation piece? Something I’ve learned through the years of handling PPC campaigns is that, by the nature of the beast (i.e. repeatedly firing traffic at a site and measuring its value), you develop a really valuable, granular view of how well a page is performing, which helps identify issues and areas for improvement.

When conversion is hindering your PPC performance, raise awareness of the issues and, when possible, suggest solutions. A good PPC account manager cares deeply about post-click activity.

Conclusion

Hopefully you’ve picked up some useful thoughts on how to go about improving your mobile PPC presence and results over the next year.

Do you have any favoured strategies for succeeding with mobile PPC campaigns? Share your thoughts in the comments below.