Audience

Using Google Tools to Understand Audience & Drive Performance

Using Ad Customizers to Personalize Your Google Search Ads

What are ad customizers?

Though we are constantly testing ad copy, it’s not feasible to manually create hundreds of variants to ensure we are showing the most relevant ad to each and every searcher. Fortunately, Google offers tools that allow us to create text ads that update dynamically based on the terms someone is searching, his location, day of the week, device & more at a large scale. When using customizers, be mindful that your ad copy allows for the additional characters the customizer generates and stays within Google’s character limits

When and how to use ad customizers

Countdown ads allow you to include a real-time event countdown in your ads. The counter will count down by days, hours, then minutes to the event and can appear in any headline or description. Countdown ads are useful for creating a sense of urgency around sales, holidays, and deadlines, which can improve conversion rate and conversion volume. To create a countdown ad, type “{“ where you want the countdown to appear & select “Countdown” from the dropdown menu. Fill in the start & end dates, time zone, and language, then save. The countdown customizer will appear in your ad as {=COUNTDOWN(“YYYY/MM/DD HH:MM:SS”,”language”,daysBefore)}. GLOBAL_COUNTDOWN displays the same count across time zones. A florist might include the countdown “Order Now, Only {=COUNTDOWN(“2019/5/12 00:00:00”,”en-US”,10)} Until Mother’s Day!” in her ad copy, which will appear to a searcher as “Order Now, Only 10 Days Until Mother’s Day!” Countdown ads automatically end when the countdown is over, so make sure you have at least one static ad in each ad group.

Keyword insertion makes ads more relevant by inserting the keyword that matched to a searcher’s query into your ad copy. For example, if your ad group includes the keywords plumber, best plumber, commercial plumber, and emergency plumber, your ad copy will show best plumber to people who search “best plumber” and emergency plumber to people who search for “emergency plumber”, etc. To use dynamic keyword insertion in your ads, type “{“ where you want your keyword to appear and select Keyword insertion from the dropdown menu. Fill in the default text field and select your capitalization. A title case keyword will show as “{KeyWord:Default Text}” in your ad copy. When a keyword is too long to be inserted, your default text will show instead. You can also enter create ads with dynamic keyword insertion manually by typing {KeyWord:Default Text} directly in your ad copy. Capitalize “keyword” based on the case you want to use. Make sure this capitalization is consistent with the rest of your ad copy. Now, when a customer uses one of your keywords in their search, Google Ads automatically replaces the code with the keyword that triggered your ad.

Be careful not to use dynamic keyword insertion on competitor ad groups & make sure that your keywords are short enough to be inserted. Otherwise, your ads will serve with your generic default text, instead of the relevant keyword.

IF functions insert text based on audience or device and are useful for remarketing and device specific offers or CTAs. To use an IF function, type “{“ where you want your message to appear and select IF function from the dropdown menu. Then, select your condition. Choose Device to customize your ad copy for mobile devices or Audience to customize your message based on the audience the searcher belongs to. In the THEN box, type a customized message for your mobile users or chosen audience. In the OTHERWISE box, enter your default ad text. The IF function will appear in your ad as {=IF(Condition,insert text):default text}.

A college enrollment campaign might use a device IF function to drive calls from mobile users, while directing desktop users to an online registration form: “Visit State College {=IF(device=mobile,Call Today to Schedule a Tour.):Register for a Campus Tour Online.}.” Mobile users will see “Visit State College. Call Today to Schedule A Tour” while desktop users will see “Visit State College. Register for a Campus Tour Online.

eCommerce advertisers can use audience IF functions to drive revenue through remarketing by showing a special discount to cart abandoners and standard ad copy to everyone else. For example “Save {=IF(audience IN(cart abandoners),25%):10%} Sitewide.” Cart abandoners will see an ad that says “Save 25% Sitewide” while all other audiences will be given a reduced discount with “Save 10% Sitewide.”

Ad customizers allow you to tailor your ad copy to the context of a searcher’s query by any attribute of your choosing based on a feed of your business data, including geo, keyword, ad group, product type and more. You can upload feeds in Google Ads under Settings > Business Data. You can schedule regular feed uploads to make sure your business data is up to date. Google Ads even offers an ad customizer data template to help you get started. As with dynamic keyword insertion and IF functions, ad customizers allow you to set default text for your attributes in case the data from the feed pushes your copy beyond Google’s character limits. Once the feed is uploaded, you can insert customizers into your ad by typing where feedName is the name of your feed and colName is the column in the feed you are pulling data from.

One attribute you can use an ad customizer for, target location, is especially useful for advertisers who have multiple store locations. Target location customizers update your ad based on the location of a searcher or the location a searcher is interested in. A paint store with over 50 locations across multiple states can easily create ad copy that is relevant to local searchers without manually writing the store location into multiple ads with “Find the Perfect Latex Paint at Your Interior Paint Store.” They also allow the campaign to scale with ease as new locations open.

Experiment with different ad customizers as part of your ad copy testing to see what performs best. You can also apply learnings from your customizers to your static ads. Ad customizers are a powerful tool for managing ad copy at scale and can help you show the most relevant ads to searchers.

Using Google Tools to Understand Audience & Drive Performance

What In-Market Audiences Are And How To Use Them

Search advertisers have an array of audience targeting options at their disposal. They can remarket with RLSA, reach current customers with Customer Match, prospect with Similar Audiences, or narrow their reach with demographic targeting. Google Ads also offers a newer targeting tool, In-Market Audiences for Search, that allows advertisers to reach users at the bottom of the sales funnel.

Google classifies searchers as in-market for a variety of products and services ranging from “Motor Vehicles By Brand” to “Gyms & Athletic Clubs” to “Strollers & Baby Carriages” to “Moving & Relocation” - over 170 audiences overall. In-Market audiences allow you to target users whose search & browsing behavior indicate they are actively researching & considering buying, or “in-market” for, your products or services. Targeting audiences with a high purchase intent can drive conversions & help reduce wasted spend. In-Market audiences, which are also available in Microsoft Ads, can be added at the campaign or ad group level.

If you’re unsure which In-Market audiences are most valuable to your business, use Google Ad’s Audience Insights or Google Analytics to find valuable, data-based information on who your customers are and how they compare to the average searcher. Insights are available in Google Ads when at least one of your audience lists includes 1000+ people. An auto dealer client, for example, can reach an audience of 25 to 30 million searchers in-market for “Vans & Minivans”  who are 18.6x more likely to convert than the average searcher. This makes sense, however some highly indexed audiences for the same account are less straightforward: those In-Market for “Camping & Hiking Equipment” are 11.6x more likely & those In-Market for “Fireplaces” are 14.2x more likely to convert than the average user.

After deciding which In-Market audiences to test, apply them across your campaigns or ad groups on Observation (Bid-Only) mode. Applying your audiences on Observation mode ensures you can gather data on the In-Market audiences you’ve applied without restricting your campaign targeting. Once your In-Market audiences have gathered enough data in Observation mode, you should have a good idea of which In-Market audiences are driving conversions relative to your account’s overall audience, and can adjust bids up or down based on performance. You can leverage your findings across the Google Display Network, YouTube, Gmail, and Search. Bid these audiences up on search, or create a video or display campaign targeting only the users in your top In-Market audiences. Continue to monitor & analyze audience performance, as it may vary across campaigns & channels. In-Market audiences are a powerful targeting tool that every search marketer should be testing.

Using Google Tools to Understand Audience & Drive Performance

Using Google Tools To Understand Your Audience

As digital advertisers, we are constantly trying to determine the optimal targeting for our SEM efforts. Understanding your customer personas, the profiles that represent your ideal customers, will help you tailor your digital marketing efforts and set your campaign targeting effectively.

While there are a handful of methods you can use to understand your customer base, including market research, surveys, polls, and social listening, one of the best ways is to dive into your site & campaign analytics. Google offers two tools that can help you quickly understand your audience: Google Analytics & Google Ads Audience Insights.

Using Google Analytics for Audience Research

Google Analytics is a rich source of information about your customers. You can see where your site visitors came from, which terms they searched to find you, how much time they spent on the site & more. You can also find valuable information on your customers’ interests, age, gender, location and even which device & browser they used.

Audience Reports in GA

Google Analytics Audience Reports give detailed information about who visited your site. Audience Reports contains over 15 subsections, but we will focus on Demographics & Interests here.

The Demographics report gives you insight into the age and gender of your site visitors, and each demographic group’s behavior on the site. The overview gives you a high level demographic breakdown of users by age and gender, and you can toggle through other key metrics like sessions, bounce rate, and session duration as well. The Age & Gender reports give a more granular look at each age group’s or gender’s behavior on your site, including bounce rate, pages per session, duration, and goal completion.

The Interest report in turn gives you a psychographic view of your audience. Google Analytics segments interests into three categories: Affinity, In-Market, and Other. Affinity includes users with a more general interest in topics, such as “Cooking Enthusiasts” or “Travel Buffs.” In-Market includes those users at the bottom of the funnel who are ready to convert, with more specific segments like “Home Decor” and “Hotel & Accommodations.” Other categories is similar to Affinity, but provides a more granular view, for example “Home & Garden/Bed & Bath/Bedroom/Bedding & Bed Linens.” Like the Demographic overview above, the Interests overview breaks down key metrics by each of the top ten interests in each category, and you can drill down into each category’s report acquisition, behavior, and conversion metrics.

Understanding the demographic & psychographic composition of your customers will not only ensure your campaign settings target the users with the highest conversion or goal completion rates, but also inform the creative, ad copy, and overall messaging of your marketing efforts. These reports can also help you gauge whether your campaigns are, in fact, sending the right visitors to your site. You can even use age, gender, and interest segments to create remarketing audiences to use in Google Ads.

Using Google Ads Audience Insights for Audience Research

The Google Ads audience insights tool helps you learn about who your converters and website visitors are, as well as find new audiences to target. Audience Insights is housed in the Shared Library under the Audience Manager.

Google Ads Audience Insights report

The Audience Insights report is a valuable resource for determining where, when, and to whom you should be advertising your products or services to drive conversions for your Gmail, YouTube, & display campaigns, and can also help you choose more relevant keywords & messaging to implement in your search campaigns, set bids, and more. Audience Insights benchmarks your website visitors against the United States on demographics, location, devices and interests. For example, the traffic for one of our clients in home goods retail is 66% more likely to be female and between 35 to 54 years old, 42% more likely to be parents, and 76% more likely to be visiting from a computer than the general US population. We also know that our visitors are 10.3x more likely to be in-market for “Kitchen & Bathroom Counters” and 3.2x more likely to be “Beach Bound Travelers.” Armed with your customer persona, you can leverage your findings and refine your paid media strategy to drive high-value traffic to your site.

Once you’ve created your customer persona, continue to periodically review your data in Google Analytics & Google Ads. Buying habits & preferences can change over time, so it’s important to reevaluate and recreate your personas especially if you’ve gone through new product launches or industry changes.

Programmatic Advertising Effectively Identifies Your Audience — Here's How

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More than 80 percent of all digital display ads in the U.S. will be purchased this year through automated channels, according to eMarketer. One area that’s exploding with ad spending in this direction is on programmatic advertising.

Programmatic ads are automated using audience data and technology to achieve the right marketing to the right person, at the right time, in a relevant context. Marketers are expected to spend over $46 billion in 2018 on digital display ads and video display ads on the web, mobile phones, and tablets, across hundreds of sites.

When conceived and programmed correctly, programmatic advertising ensures that key target audiences are being properly identified, and are being shown helpful, informative, relevant and timely content. This can have a meaningful impact on a brand that’s doing programmatic right. Done poorly, and it can have the reverse effect.

Benefits of Programmatic

Programmatic ads are powerful in helping SMB advertisers with their branding efforts. Having a focused ad targeting strategy can help small and medium-sized businesses in keeping their budgets in line and can be very effective in engagement and conversions down the line with target audiences.

Another benefit to programmatic ads is the opportunity for marketers to develop real-time audience insights that can be immediately impactful. Having these insights can help bolster future campaigns, increase optimizations and the develop future strategies.

Customize your Message

Programmatic makes it easier for advertisers to find desired target audiences across the internet, wherever those audiences are located. For example, a consumer may have visited a local car dealership online, and location data may show a pattern of other dealership visits. Programmatic will assume the consumer is in the market for a new or used car and may set up ad opportunities for that purpose. This targeting is managed anonymously, without marketers learning any identity information about the potential car buyer.

Identifying Audiences

Programmatic advertising technology works best for identifying niche audiences. For example, a surfing equipment and supplies website found that programmatic advertising showed that its top visitors were young adult males (aged 20-35) who live in the North Pacific region, read the site during worktime lunch, and have been regular visitors. Armed with this data, an advertiser using programmatic technology would have definite ideas on who and where are these persons, what time of day they might be most receptive to relevant ads, and what type of content to show in the ads.

Mix up the approaches

Programmatic is best known for targeting audiences and driving conversions. But advertisers who are developing their branding can get experimental by trying different approaches. 

Advertisers could beta test a top-down approach by developing programmatic ads for the most engaged online users, perhaps those at the very top of online sites. They could also try to target their efforts to the most popular competitor sites that most people click to.

Conversely, advertisers might want to try a bottom-up approach, developing campaigns for small but dedicated audiences at certain sites, and building a sizeable budget to them. With this approach, niche clients might achieve higher CTRs than competitors in a similar industry.

To learn more about how to make programmatic advertising work for your local market or industry, look to the Interactive Advertising Bureau for a deep dive into programmatic advertising, discussing what's ahead, what challenges marketers face in making this type of ad work for them, and how the industry has to change in order to survive.

The Top 10 Ways to Creatively Build and Develop Your Online Audience

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Building a successful online audience of loyal brand advocates takes time and insight into demographics. For brands and marketers to attract and maintain loyal followings online, leverage networks, platforms, and marketing strategies effectively.

Here are the 10 best approaches to identify and engage a qualified audience.

 

1. Leveraging Partnerships With Influencers Who Have Desirable Audiences

 

Looking to add another powerful layer of engagement? Want to be as relevant and credible as possible? Benefits abound when brands and marketers collaborate with established trendsetters with rock star quality and unique storytelling mastery. The key is knowing how to cash in on them.

 

Start with the right questions. It's important to have a deep understanding of the scope and future impact of an influencer's offering to ensure a favorable outcome of your brand's goals. From execution, data, and analytical tools to cost, disclosure questions help you identify and connect with the appropriate influencer talent. In the end, it's beneficial to you, consumers and the influencers, too.

 

2. A/B Split Testing Every Email Communication

 

Retaining customers is easier than prospecting for new ones. It's why A/B tests are critical to new email campaign experiments. To improve conversions, it's a cinch to run effective A/B tests when you:

●      Settle on what you'll test: For the best results, test one thing at a time. Some considerations might include subject lines, personalization, message layout, text, or images.

●      Test whole or partial lists:  To get an accurate account of email opt-in responses, start with your entire list. Go for partial list testing if your A/B test service charges per email address, you're trying something new, or offering time-limited promotions.

●      Know what to test for: Decide on what you'll test for before launching your emails. Review previous results from consistent campaigns or open rates for future improvements.

●      Use proper testing tools: If your email campaign software is devoid of support or built-in A/B testing, consider splitting your lists into two separate lists and send different campaigns to each.

●      Analyze your results: After running a campaign with two different email versions, examine the results of open rates, click-throughs, and conversion rates. This helps to lower the risk of losing sales.

 

3. Including Exclusive Information in High-quality Content for Expert Brand Positioning

 

To perfectly position your brand to stand out from competitors, you'll need to leave an enduring impact on your target audience. This is easily doable through a genuine mix of targeted content through different formats, mediums, and touch points.

 

Bottom line: Give the people what they want. Take the reader's perspective into account and ask yourself: Is it informative? Is it relevant? Does it offer value? High-level content is what attracts a large following, especially when it's entertaining, engaging, and useful.

 

4. Expanding Client Lists with Look-Alike Modeling

 

For marketers, the challenge to reach more of the right customers is real. The struggle oftentimes extends into tailoring new strategies to increase the reach to a larger audience — particularly with relevant advertising. Here's where look-alike modeling works to streamline the process.

 

This secret weapon defines customers most likely to engage with your marketing messages. Also, it extends your reach by analyzing the common behaviors or traits of current customers to capture new ones exhibiting similar characteristics. The strategy behind this ingenious method is to find new targets that look like your best customers.

 

Why use it? According to 30 percent of advertisers who reported using look-alike modeling, their results doubled or even tripled that of standard targeting. Given these benefits, two common approaches are sure bets to get started:

●      To build look-alike models from email or direct mail lists, work with third-party data providers to build offline model audiences.

●      When using online customer data (i.e, an active website audience) build look-alike models via data management platforms that house third-party data.

 

Even if you start with offline data for digital marketing, you can still reach your model audience within digital channels through mobile, video or display.

 

5. Determining and Choosing to Interact on Platforms Where the Targets Spend the Most Time

 

To grow your fan base is to know where your audience hangs out to absorb content and get social interaction. Once you begin to navigate platforms that are ideal consumer breeding grounds, you'll need three things:

●      To know where your audience engages with your chosen platform at all times, on any channel factually and in real time

●      Content management offering the ability to optimize, test, and scale content to identify critical components of the audience journey

●      Platform automation to distribute great content to build momentum, boost conversions, or page views

 

Take Facebook, for instance. It's the one platform known to drive an audience and site traffic. With its popularity, a brand can quickly make it a top priority, find a large audience, and define a content strategy and voice.

 

6. Providing Valuable Gated Content

 

To gain access to a name, phone number, or even an email address when looking to get contact information, you need to master the use of gated content, or information that a user must fill out a form to access. You'll find that it's not a matter of what you should gate, but more of the what and when gated content should be used. Whitepapers, ebooks, podcasts, videos, and product demos are a few optimal content sources to generate leads and build online viewership during the audience journey.

 

Time invested in gating helps to drive leads deep into a sales funnel, where they're primed and nurtured over time. Also, leads from gated content are much more likely to convert, which creates opportunities for high conversion rates.

 

7. Taking Advantage of Social Sharing

 

In an effort to extend your reach and gain more adoring fans, use social sharing to your advantage. If it's more tweets, likes, or pins you're after, make awesome content to compel people to share. Do this with enticing headlines, irresistible offers, humor, and visuals. Posting at the right times is an added bonus to capture more attention and drive up the ante in social shares.

 

8. Engaging With Your Audience

 

Once you've gained a solid footing in delivering interesting content, encourage comments and feedback. Engage with active followers and respond to inquiries, including positive and negative comments, in a timely fashion. When readers request more information on certain topics, publish articles or blog posts to address their questions or concerns.

 

9. Focusing on Organic Search

 

When consumers are interested in something they take to the web to connect with the information they need. Use targeted keywords in your niche and evergreen content to stay top of mind on a search engine results page when they're ready to buy. With this cost-effective approach to the "pay to play" method, you stay ahead of your competitors. Besides, consumers are more likely to click on the top organic results over paid ads.

 

10. Maintaining Interest With Retargeting

 

Sometimes customers reach your brand early in the purchase journey as a result of interacting with an ad, blog post, or some other means. In either case, they're often not ready to make a purchase on the first visit. Not to worry, they're just in the consideration phase.

 

Simply reconnect with them through retargeting. Target users based on specific actions taken on your site and offer value on commonly viewed products. Consider retargeting existing customers who've been unresponsive to emails. Get behind the power of lead-gen ads like the ones offered by Facebook.

 

Every aspect of building an online audience comes down to understanding customers and what motivates them. Armed with the proper knowledge, it's easier to use digital channels to reach well-defined targets, improve engagement, and drive sales.

What YouTube's Audience-Targeting Feature Means for Ads

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Digital disrupts everything. And when it comes to advertising, the steady tidal wave of change affecting how we watch television has really shaken things up. In fact, by the year 2019, experts estimate cord cutters will number over 19 million in the United States alone. While cable television might have reigned supreme in years gone by, consumers are more in control than ever before.

Our ever-evolving technology has created a new generation of connected viewers indulging in online media consumption, which includes watching content digitally. Video giant YouTube notes that users viewing content on connected televisions represent explosive growth in its audience, with an estimated 150 million hours of YouTube content streaming on television screens around the world.

Google's YouTube unit has a solid reputation of giving advertisers new ways to hone in on their target audiences. In 2018, the company announced a plan for advertisers to reach viewers watching YouTube on their televisions, as well as cord cutters and folks who just don't watch that much traditional television. Here are the essential things you should know about this new audience-targeting campaign.

Targeting Light TV Viewers

Do you watch most of your television online? If so, you might belong to YouTube's new audience segment for Google Adwords: "light TV viewers." This savvy move comes in the wake of a steady growth in digital video viewing, and gives advertisers additional flexibility to target their audiences more effectively. With this category, advertisers can choose the devices they want to target with their marketing efforts, including desktops and mobile devices.

AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager Targeting via TV Screens

This program gives advertisers their first-ever opportunity to target online television viewers. Advertisers can reach those watching YouTube on their connected televisions using DoubleClick Bid Manager and AdWords. These options already exist for advertisers who advertise using YouTube ads on computers, tablets, and mobile phones. With this new rollout, advertisers will be able to modify their content to make sure it's optimized for television viewing.

YouTube TV Ad Inventory Availability in Google Preferred 

In 2017, Google threw its hat into the virtual pay-television market with the launch of YouTube TV. When it launched, it provided subscribers with about 50 different live channels, and didn't include ads. That will change starting in 2018's fourth quarter as Google extends its Google Preferred ad program to many of the networks on YouTube TV. This is significant largely because Google Preferred has long been a premium ad program on the top-tier, most-popular YouTube channels.

By making the jump to YouTube TV, Google can turn the volume way up on the number of opportunities for monetization available to advertisers. This is likely just the beginning of the new and innovative options advertisers will have to update their strategies in today's fast-moving digital world.