4 Reasons your eCommerce Store Must Have a Blog

4 reaons why your ecommerce site must have a blog - Stikky MediaThe e-commerce space is getting more competitive every year and even obscure niches are now seeing some degree of saturation as entrepreneurs try to enter untapped markets. Therefore, it has become more important to differentiate yourself from the thousands of shopify stores and other competitors. One of the best ways to differentiate is by maintaining a blog with consistently high quality content. In this blog we’ll cover 4 reasons your e-commerce store should have a blog.

Blogging can be very beneficial to an eCommerce site, especially one that caters to a particular niche. The blog can cover a lot of ground within that niche and the blog topics would tie in nicely with what you are selling. You get the added benefit of SEO through more content to rank, as blogging is a very powerful way to generate site traffic, then get more revenue as a result.

Facebook ads and Google Ads PPC campaigns might help with traffic, but they can be expensive to maintain. They also take a major percentage of your budget. When people are on Facebook, they are not always there to go shopping. So if they are hit with ads for a product that they are not really looking for, it can be annoying for them and it might even give a bad impression of your brand. Blogging, however, is an easy and free way to generate engagement and put your brand out there. And if you serve ads for a blog topic with genuinely good content, that would be more welcome compared to trying to shove a product down the user’s throats.

4 reasons your e-commerce store should have a blog

SEO perks

It has been proven that the way a lot of people use google is by asking questions. That is the reason why you have sites dedicated to answering questions like Quora and Answers.com. Often people would search how to do something before buying anything related to the topic. If your blog can provide those answers well and then point the users in the correct direction to buy the products they need, then you would have given value to your customers. Blogs are also very easy to link and share as opposed to landing pages or product pages. Blogs can generate organic and natural links especially if the content is of high quality. By generating more traffic, you are increasing the odds of having your leads convert into paying customers.

Customer evangelism

As proud as we are of our SEO and PPC digital marketing services, word of mouth is still considered as a very strong marketing strategy. By giving your customers exactly what they want and need from a trusted source, you are on your way to getting life-long customers who believe in your store and your products. These customers are likely recommend your store to people they know and maybe even share their good experience on social media. This is especially true if you provide a solution to a problem that they know others are having as well.

Messaging Freshness

You can only promote your products so much in advertisements before they become stale and people really just ignore them because due to overexposure. By promoting your blog instead, you will be bringing fresh flavor to your customers especially if the post is of a very relevant and timely subject. This can work differently depending on the niche of your store, but the basic premise still holds.

Blogs represent a compelling opportunity to tell your brand’s storyBlogging - tell your story | Stikky Media Blog

There is only so much you can say in your about page. A blog is more natural when it comes to storytelling. You want your customers to empathize with your brand, to feel a connection with it because it helps to define them. It can serve as a medium to share your successes, your failures and eventual triumphs, and it will make the customer feel as if they are part of the ride.

Blogs go beyond your products – explore the how, why, where, when your customers use your products

As an example, say you are in the urban garden niche. You and a competitor both have similar products, and your e-commerce sites are both well optimized with good product descriptions, call to actions, and nice pictures to round it off. But both sites have no blogs yet. You can set your store apart by imparting practical knowledge to your customers by offering a how-to blog utilizing the products you are selling. You can address the reasons why customers would need to purchase your products and how they can get the most of it.

Perhaps offer a comparison between models and how each differ based on its area of specialization with specific examples. Get feedback from customers via the comments on your post and develop a mailing list keeping customers and prospects informed of your latest updates and product releases. By having a blog, your e-commerce customers will be engaged even more than your competition because you’re adding value to their experience doing business with your firm. In addition to the additional traffic you’ll receive due to ranking blogs organically through well-executed SEO, your customers will get more out of their purchase. This increases the likelihood they’ll stay loyal and make repeat purchases, leading to additional revenue, testimonials and a stronger brand in your niche.

Blogs can elevate your firm from simply an option to the de facto choice in your niche

Your blog is your way of proving to your customers that you are an expert in your industry, that you know what you are doing and what’s best, and that you stand behind the quality of your products and services. This is the same reason why Stikky Media is maintaining this high-quality blog – because we want you to know who we are, what we’ve done in the past and what we can do in the future. This is how we continue to provide our clients with the greatest possible value.

If you want to develop a rock solid content strategy, get an audit of your existing strategy or want to explore our other services like search engine optimization or pay-per-click advertising, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Even if you’re not ready now, we’d encourage you to keep in touch on social media. Our expert team is at your service, ready to provide great content and value.

How reducing bounce rate yields more eCommerce revenue

How reducing bounce rate yields more eCommerce revenue

What is a Bounce Rate? Why Should You Care? In this blog we will walk through bounce rates with a focus on optimizing for conversions. You’ll learn the questions that will help you better understand why people leave your site quickly as well as the powerful business benefits of reducing your bounce rate.

Google Analytics defines bounce rate as the percentage of single-page visits where the person left the site without doing any other interaction. It is a measure of the percentage of people who land on your website and fail to do anything else such as click on a menu item, or follow any internal links leading to other pages on your site. What we can get from this is that the visitor was not interested because they either did not find what they were looking for, there were technical issues like error messages and slow loading of the page, or that the site is not user-friendly or professional-looking. All of these things can be a contributor to bounce rate being high. A high bounce rate for an eCommerce site means that you get fewer conversions.

Why did the visitor leave so quickly?

But checking if a visitor came and went without doing interaction is a very simplistic way of looking at this metric, this could only be the tip of the iceberg. Yes, the person did visit only one page. Yes, that person left without doing anything else. This are all true, but there are also other factors that we need to be aware of in order to know why the visitor bounced. Objectively looking at the bounce rate and trying to randomly fix the site from top to bottom is like giving your car a hot new paint job because it does not start. You could be wasting your effort if you do not know what exactly to fix.

Consider these questions:

  • What was the visitor’s intent?

The intent is very important as it lets us know why the person came to visit. In our case, it could be to check a product out, and not necessarily buy it. The common online shopper will do a lot of browsing before committing themselves into buying a product especially if that product costs an arm and a leg. In such cases the shopper would compare between different competing products to see which one is better quality-wise or the better deal. In cases where you are seeing a high bounce rate in a specific product page, the visitor could just be looking or didn’t find your offer compelling enough. If that potential customer has previously visited the site and left their email address, we can then run a follow up email campaign offering discounts, free shipping, or even freebies to make them return and make a purchase. As you can see, there are still opportunities to convert bounces into sales. But for unique first-time visitors that bounce, we can take that as a learning opportunity. And with proper information regarding the source of the visitors, we can formulate targeted solutions.

  • What source did the visitor come from?

The source of the traffic also has an impact to our bounce rate. All traffic actually contributes to increasing or lowering the bounce rate for your site. If the visitor engages with the site, then that will lower the bounce rate, but if the visitor left without doing anything else, then that increases the bounce rate. This knowledge can help you learn more about your site optimizations and marketing campaigns. For example, if you did a Facebook PPC campaign to funnel visitors to a specific page and you see a high bounce rate, then the obvious conclusions would be that the PPC is targeting the wrong audience, or that the page just doesn’t engage them.

  • What sort of page did the visitor land on?

We have discussed that the bounce rate is a bit iffy when it comes to telling the whole story and it is up to us to decipher why the bounce rate is what it is. Knowing the function of a page where we are sending traffic to makes a big difference in our understanding of the increase or decrease in bounce rate. Take a blog for example, when a visitor arrives on the page, the intent is to read the blog and in most cases the visitor will navigate away or close the tab outright. This is the definition of a bounce; the user didn’t do anything other than read the blog. But this is not a bad thing because that is the nature of that page, sure it would have been better if the visitor read some other topics, but at the end of it the page served its purpose so an increase in bounce rate here is not detrimental. Now what if traffic is being sent to a product page that is meant to engage and convert a visitor? Then in this case an increase in bounce rate surely paints a negative picture for the product or the way that it is listed.

The answer to the above questions will help paint an overall picture of the state of your eCommerce site and will help you target your efforts on the correct areas.

What’s a good or bad bounce rate? It depends…

But how do we know what’s a good or bad bounce rate? According to Google Analytics, these are the industry standards, so if you fall within these numbers, your site should be well in the green. We must root our expectations in reality, after all.

Benchmark Averages per page/site type:

  • Ecommerce and Retail – 20-40%
  • Content – 40-60%
  • Lead Generation – 30-50%
  • Blogs – 70-98%
  • Service Sites – 10-30%
  • Landing Pages – 70-90%

As you can see, blogs have the highest bounce rates simply because of their nature. People find a blog about a certain topic and then leave once that curiosity is satiated. E-commerce and service sites have the lowest because people really do need to browse these sites, so if your eCommerce site is seeing high bounce rates, you need to do something quickly.

Reducing bounce rate can increase revenue

At the end of the day, conversion is really what we are aiming for and bounce rate can be one of the most relevant metrics you should be optimizing for in your eCommerce site in order to get visitors to convert, we need to get them engaged, that means optimizing the site to provide the needs of your chosen audience.

Tips for decreasing your bounce rate to improve e-commerce conversions:

  • Optimize your product listing by giving great product titles and descriptions. Having professional looking images and life shots of the products help greatly in convincing customers.
  • Make your site user-friendly. Make navigation easy, especially with regards to finding products. A very big turn off for visitors is if the search and advanced search functions do not work well. Make sure that the search function allows users to find relevant products even if they do not know exactly what to type in the search bar.
  • Make the checkout process easier and streamlined. Sometimes, this can make customers abandon their cart, especially if they already got frustrated with some other quirky things about the site.

Doing these optimizations will help to ensure that targeted traffic are not bouncing but are actually engaging, giving a high probability of conversion. In conclusion, even though there is another side to the story of bounce rate, in the context of eCommerce, smaller is better.

Need to optimize conversions to grow e-commerce revenue? Stikky Media can help.

Want to know how you can reduce bounce rate and increase engagement and conversion further? Read our case studies then give us a call and have our conversion optimization experts help you!

Why Facebook no longer resonates with GenZ (and what does)

GenZ Marketing TipsWant to learn how to market to the movers and shakers, the trend setter – the elusive 20 something year old? Who better to tell you than Ethan Dennett –  the 20 year old member of the Stikky Media team. Read on for GenZ marketing tips and considerations for reaching this unique audience – in Ethan’s own words.

The modern advertisement industry started in conjunction with the development of modern psychology. The idea that the average person could be suggestible enough to buy a coca-cola was groundbreaking to advertisers.

How to reach young trend setters on social media – without annoying them

Today, one of the hardest markets to advertise to is the trend setters. Young people in their 20s who are members of Generation Z have already experienced intense marketing, and are very able to identify marketing techniques. We have been advertised to our whole lives; lots of young people can view certain ads as offensive. I’ve heard friends say: “How dare Company A think they can psychologically manipulate me! I won’t be using their products anymore.” It’s not only becoming harder to break through the mess of ads these kids see daily, but it’s becoming easier to piss them off with too personal ads. It’s not a good business decision to spend money on losing customers.

Still, you have to consider that people don’t want to be advertised to. During the holiday season, Google ramped up its ads for the Google Home Mini. I hate these ads with a burning passion. It feels like the voice was digitally altered to pierce my thinking. Naturally, every time I hear it I immediately turn the volume off on my computer. Google wasted a lot of money on me this season.

Be honest and upfront – or risk getting mocked

So, where does this leave us in our quest to reach the young market? It leaves us walking on eggshells. That is my first piece of advice – young people are much more perceptive than their parents, and they will see through basic attempts to “fit in.” There’s actually a subreddit (r/fellowkids) making fun of companies that fail to be “fellow kids” in a guise of advertisement. If you want to reach these young people, your ads need to be honest and upfront; you need to walk on eggshells.

Choose the right social media platform – it may not be what you think

My next marketing tip is to consider what platform to use. You probably only thought about either Facebook or Instagram – and if you did, you’ve failed at being a fellow kid! Young people today really don’t care about Facebook or Instagram like they did 5 years ago. The age of showing off and putting up personal posts for friends to see is over. Young people mostly hate how their friends act on social media, and thus turn to another site: Reddit.

Think communities, not image filters

Reddit should not be considered traditional social media, because it’s not. Reddit is about communities and individual interests, it’s not about how cool you look with that blue filter. It’s a very personal site, that is also very anonymous.

It’s a very fine line between what is a normal ad and what is personally invasive. For example, I follow a page called r/digitalnomad, and I just saw an ad about being a digital nomad. I can live with that, after all it’s not hard for the company to choose to advertise to users of the page. What I don’t like to see is my search results showing up. I looked on Facebook for headphones over the holidays, and now my Reddit feed is filled with headphone ads — not cool.

What really matters when marketing to GenZ?

There’s a difference between effective and non-effective advertising. The difference is solely in how the consumers perceive your ad. You don’t want to sound creepy and you don’t want to show up on r/fellowkids. Basically, you want to let the consumer feel in control. I am in control of whether I follow r/digitalnomad and get likewise ads, but do I want to be repeatedly advertised to after looking for Christmas gifts once? No, ads like that make me feel out of control and misunderstood.

Understand which approaches work – and which are too transparent

My recommendations are to throw away some of the traditional psychological approaches in your ads the odds are that young people won’t fall for it. If you want to reach young people it’s very easy. Advertise on Reddit and be honest. We love that site, and we understand that advertisement is needed to keep the site running. Young people will be receptive if they feel good about your method.

For example, I’m a huge cyclist, and bike to work everyday. Not once have I seen a bike advertisement on Reddit, so how could I best be advertised to? I would not respond well if I left a comment on a post about pedals and started to see ads about pedals. However, because I follow a couple bike pages, I know I’m going to get ads. If you were to reference say r/bikecommuting in the ad, I would feel much better about the pedals, and why you think I might want them.

What I’m trying to say, is that the consumer today wants to know why they are being advertised to they want clarity. If you can find your target demographic and honestly present your product to them, and the product is good, we’ll buy it.

Ethan Dennett is an account manager at Stikky Media. He enjoys helping our clients exceed expectations on their digital marketing campaigns. If you need help reaching GenZ or any other audience through digital marketing, contact us.

How To Combine Email Marketing and Social Media

How to Combine Email and Social MediaAs a marketer or business owner, you may find yourself thinking about which digital marketing channel to invest your budget in. You have a wide variety of tools at your disposal including email, content marketing, and social media, so choosing the best one for your budget and for your organization can be challenging.

If you are looking for strong ROI, you might choose to devote a portion of your resources to email marketing. If, on the other hand, you have limited resources and are not in a hurry to increase your sales or profits, you might go solely with social media.

Can’t decide? The good news is that you don’t have to choose between email marketing and social media—the two channels work best when used together. You can maximize your email marketing strategies by integrating them with your social media campaigns and vice versa.

Email and social media may seem like two entirely different marketing channels, but they actually have a lot in common. Both of these channels provide you with the opportunity to increase traffic to your website, build relationships with new customers, maintain these relationships and earn your customers’ loyalty, and of course, significantly boost your company’s ROI.

3 Ways to Combine Email Marketing and Social Media for the Strongest ROI

So, how exactly do you merge the two platforms together? There are plenty of strategies that you can try, but there’s no need to worry. It’s not as daunting as it seems. Here are some examples.

  • You can leverage social media to cultivate your email list by adding social media share buttons to your email messages.
  • You can encourage your email list to follow your social media pages by sending them irresistible offers.
  • You can align the messages in your emails with your social media posts by using the same branded hashtags.

Want to know more about how to combine email marketing and social media? Contact us and we’ll be happy to chat.

This was a guest blog courtesy of our friends at CampaignMonitor

Headz Case Study

Meet Headz.ca

Headz.ca delivers high quality mail order marijuana, referred to as sacrament, across Canada. Their dedication to their customers and aspirations of significant growth in both brand awareness and revenue, they are on a mission to become the largest and most successful mail order medical marijuana company in Canada. With our help, they’re well on the way to being exactly that.

Challenge

In the fall of 2017, Headz approached us with a myriad of digital sales and marketing issues. After our conversation where we uncovered what they were struggling with, it was clear they needed help across the board. They had a basic existing wordpress website but it had little traction on major search engines and low traffic numbers.

Indeed, there was no tracking set up, which meant they didn’t have good visibility into what their customers were searching for, buying and what would draw them back for more. This was showing up in ecommerce revenue, which was not strong at just $800/month. They were having trouble attracting and retaining customers at a consistent rate.

The Headz team knew this was not sustainable and things had to improve-fast​.

After several productive conversations, we mutually agreed improvements were needed in two areas:

  • Implement a strategy for attracting and engaging members
  • Grow traffic through search and paid advertising along with email marketing
  • Grow ecommerce sales to rastafarians by converting traffic

What We Did

Tracked Visitor Behavior

The first step to measuring success is defining your starting point. Headz had not been tracking any website behavior prior to engaging with us which meant they were flying blind in terms of where visitors were coming from,what pages they were visiting and how long they were staying. To rectify this, we installed Google Analytics in the fall of 2017 to establish a baseline.We then enabled ecommerce tracking to provide specific data around what visitors were buying, what they weren’t and other quantifiable trends that could be useful to the Headz team.

Optimized for Search

Now that we had tracking set up, the next step was to get visitors to the website and convert those visitors into customers through search engine optimization. Our SEO work had two main components: city-specific landing pages and optimized product pages.

Search-Optimized Canadian City Landing Pages

Since Headz delivered their sacrament all across Canada, it was important to expand the brand beyond a local British Columbia audience. We did this by creating over 100 SEO-optimize city landing pages, with one dedicated to major communities in each province across Canada. To attract attention we used bold images representing each community as part of a slider for each city page. We also included any relevant discounts.

Once the pages were set up, optimized with the right metadata andsubmitted to Google, we monitoring Google Search Console for errors andomissions. We made sure Google was able to easily access, index and rankeach page.

Optimized Product Pages for Search

The most important element that contributes to the success of a product page is a well-crafted title and description.
We collaborated with the Headz team to make sure each and every product was showcased elegantly through well-written meta descriptions.
Clear pricing, customer reviews, related products and a call to action to purchase the product made it easy to purchase on their website.
One of the most important aspects of this process was to be sure products could be added and updated with ease by the client. Woocommerce integration from inside WordPress was the ideal solution for this.

Paid Advertising on Bing Setup

Headz was a great candidate for paid search ads, which prompted us to setup a Bing campaign for them.

Engaged Community through Affiliate Program & Product Newsletter

Now that visitors were coming in and being tracked through our efforts, it was time to engage them to keep them coming back and buying. We did this by creating an attractive affiliate program for members offering discounts and commission to members in exchange for promoting Headz products on their own websites.

Of course, we didn’t stop there. Using MailChimp, we designed and launched a twice-weekly newsletter of featured products that went out to both customers and affiliates. This provided a great way to showcase what’s on sale, discounts and the newest products. The objective was to both grow awareness and grow consistent revenue through ecommerce sales. As weexplain in the next section – it worked!

Outcomes

From the growth in website traffic, member engagement, SEO ande-commerce revenue, the outcomes were nothing short of spectacular.

Website Traffic Up Exponentially with Low Bounce Rate

Starting with website traffic, in a very short amount of time we saw rapid increases. New visitors were coming and coming back, and converting into customers. As shown in the graph to the right from December 2017 when tracking was implemented through August 2018 visitors were already viewing 75k page sa month, with consistent month over month increases and improvements in all major web analytics categories. In spite of this incredible increase inactivity, the bounce rate remained low, which is a sign of successfully targeting our audience and keeping their interest.

What was very exciting to see was visitors were not just coming via desktop but also on their mobile and tablet devices. Indeed, the latter two had very impressive click rates and ranking positions on Google, as discussed below.

Impressive SEO CTRs – up to 10.8%

The city-specific landing pages discussed earlier were a rousing success, with the vast majority achieving a first page rank on Google quickly. Headz was truly growing as a brand known to rastafarians all across Canada from British Columbia to the Atlantic provinces.

However, while ranking well is certainly impressive on it’s own, getting people to click is the really powerful outcome to pay attention to. From December 2017 through the end of August 2018, the Headz.ca CTR was anastonishing 7.1% on mobile and 10.8% on tablet!

Even the desktop average of 3.4% is impressive across nearly half a million impressions. Of course, this is a direct reflection of the talent and experience of the Stikky Media team.

8700% Increase in Affiliate Membership

To put the growth rate in context, when Headz engaged with us, they hadjust 69 users. In less than a year, they now have 10,000 engaged users thatread their active newsletter which goes out twice a week. We know they’re engaged by the open and click rate which have been consistently outstanding, another strong indicator of success​.

Paid Search – 14:1 Revenue to Spend Ratio

During a three week stretch in July 2018, DSP traffic (pops and domain redirects) accounted for almost half of the site traffic and was the top traffic source. The ROI was astonishing. For approximately $100 in spend they’ve made approximately $1400 in revenue over 15 transactions. Bing Ads search traffic was more modest, accounting for $270 in revenue for about $250 in spend.

However it’s important to remember that each customer is worth more than a single transaction – i.e. their average lifetime value (LTV). This means each customer should be worth multiple hundreds of dollars with each transaction size being about $100 – the free shipping cut off.

1250% Increase in E-Commerce Revenue Per Month

Last but not least, we we’ll look at Headz.ca e-commerce revenue growth.

Initially, Headz was bringing in less than $1000 per month when theystarted working with us. After less than a year, they’re bringing in six figures monthly, a 1250% increase in revenue / month! In fact the e-commerce numbers are truly eye-popping with a 2.64% conversion rate, and an impressive average order value across more than 4,000 transactions.

With revenue trending up, a growing and engaged community, we couldn’tbe more proud of the results Headz has seen. We certainly can’t wait to seewhat’s next!

United Alliance Services Case Study

United Alliance Services Case Study

Read UASC Case Study - Stikky MediaSince 2003, United Alliance Services Corporation (UASC) has offered occupational, health and safety consultation and training throughout the New England, Tri-state and  Mid-Atlantic regions. Through unitedallianceservices.com, UASC​ provides a wide range of workplace safety classes and training, safety audits and resources to assist clients with health and safety regulatory compliance.

However, in 2017, after a website redesign by a different company a serious website issue emerged. UASC experienced a precipitous drop in traffic. The problem was twofold: it created a poor user experience with hundreds of broken links and hurt UASC’s search engine rankings. This was a major concern because 90% of UASC’s business is driven through their website, making this drop devastating to their business.

Stikky Media stepped in and rapidly diagnosed and fixed the issue, restoring website traffic and putting the site back on track for sustainable growth.

Read the full United Alliance Services case study (PDF) to learn more about their significant digital marketing challenge and how we resolved it.

 

 

Getting Dynamic with Google Ads

Getting Dynamic with Google Ads+Ad Writing Automation

The inevitable switch from Google AdWords to the new Google Ads is here; since October 18th 2018 the new Google Ads experience has fully replaced Google AdWords. This is the third in a series of three posts on the new Google Ads with a focus on utilizing Google’s dynamic ad features. The other posts focus on 4 tips and tricks in Google Ads and outlining campaign creation, reporting and optimization in Google Ads. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Ads we recommend you read both of those posts, which will get you up to speed in no time.

The new Google Ads experience is all about automation. From reporting to recommendations, Google has put a lot of work into doing the heavy lifting for advertisers, allowing us to get more strategic with our media buying. So it’s no surprise that Google has taken this automation further with the ability to dynamically create ads, on-the-fly, that are tailored to a Google user’s specific search.

While these features may not be unique to the new Google Ads experience – a Google search for ‘dynamic search ads’ yields results dating back to 2014 – these features are much more prominent in the new Google Ads interface. Therefore, now’s the time to learn about what they are and how you can leverage them in your own Google Ads accounts.

Dynamic Search Ads in the new Google Ads

In a nutshell, Dynamic Search Ads allow advertisers, especially those with larger websites and sets of products/services, an easier and more scalable approach for creating ads, while maximizing relevancy for the end user. Advertisers provide their URL or list of landing pages, along with a bit of descriptive text for ad creative (sans headline) and Google does the rest dynamically based on the user’s specific search query.

An example that Google provides is a large hotel in a big city. Rather than creating a campaign and ad groups in the traditional way, with numerous keywords and multiple ad sets for split-testing, the advertiser would instead provide the URL for their hotel (or one or more preferential landing pages) and a bit of ad copy. When the user’s search query matches with the dynamic ad, Google then cobbles together a headline and pairs it with a landing page that it deems to be most relevant to the search term. Not only cool stuff but also extremely useful for us: this ultimately frees the advertiser up for getting more strategic with their media buying rather than spending time on setup, leverages Google’s own AI to create relevant ads for us, and allows us to leave work early for the ever-popular Friday After-Work Beers.

How to Enable Dynamic Search Ads in the new Google Ads

Here’s a breakdown of how to enable Dynamic Search Ads for a new campaign:

  • Create a new campaign and select the Search network
  • One of the first things you see in the Settings menu is titled Dynamic Search Ads. Click into it to expand it and check the box up near the top to enable Dynamic Search Ads
  • Plug in the domain of your site. Alternatively you can create a Page Feed in the Shared Library to provide Google Ads with the URLs you want it to select for your landing page. For simplicity we recommend providing your URL, but if you want to create your own page feed you can download the CSV file to do so here.

That’s it! You’ve now enabled Dynamic Search Ads in your campaign. But you’re not done yet; we’ve still got a bit more to do before Google starts dynamically working its magic.
Enable Dynamic Search Ads

How to Set Up Dynamic Ad Groups – no keywords required!

After opting into Dynamic Search Ads, you’ll be taken to the ad group creation screen. From here you can either create your dynamic ad group for your ads, or you can bypass this and create the ad group later once the campaign creation process is done. Either way, you’ll need to create a dynamic ad group at some point if you want to run these ads. But don’t worry: creating a dynamic ad group is about as easy as enabling Dynamic Search Ads.

When creating your new ad group for your campaign, select Dynamic for the ad group type from the drop down menu (if Dynamic doesn’t appear you still need to enable Dynamic Search Ads in the campaign settings). What follows will be a list of ad group targeting types that you’ll be choosing from. It’s important to note that this targeting is based on the specific pages you want Google to be creating your ads around and sending traffic to.

There’s three types of targeting to choose from:

  • Categories recommended for your website – Google Ads will essentially group your site into different categories based on its content, and you can choose which of those categories you want to target with your ads. For our site we will choose categories based around our service offerings – SEO, PPC, Social media etc.
  • Specific Web Pages: You’ll provide Google Ads up to 20 URLs to target, or create rules for targeting for your web pages
  • All web pages: For advertisers who want to target every product and service offering on their website, across every web page

Set up a Dynamic Ad Group - Stikky Media

Once you’ve saved the website targeting you’ll then create your ads. This is one of the coolest features of Dynamic Search Ads. Up until now, writing and testing ad creative has been one of the most onerous tasks in Google Ads. However with Dynamic Search Ads Google actually writes the headline, the path for your URL (i.e. everything that comes after the first slash) and picks your ad’s destination URL (based on the targeting you selected above), thus doing all the heavy lifting for you.

Google is pulling all of this information from your website’s content and the specific search query that the user typed in and it’s all done near real time, so that the end user has no different experience than if they were served a traditional search ad. Have we mentioned that we think this is pretty cool? All you need to provide Google Ads is a couple 90 character descriptions. After creating you can preview it, create a few more and save them to your account and that’s it, you’ve created a dynamic ad group for your Dynamic Search Ad campaign – no keywords required!
Preview Dynamic Ad Group - Stikky Media

Understanding Dynamic Ad Reporting in Google Ads

Reporting for your dynamic ad groups in Google Ads is pretty straightforward. Much like how clicking into a standard search ad group would display numerous keywords for your reporting, you will instead now click Dynamic Ad Targets to see the targets you’ve selected for your ads. For our example we would see the specific Stikky Media service offerings that we’ve selected to promote, such as social media marketing. On the reporting screen you’ll see all the familiar metrics, including clicks, conversions and cost, and you can of course change the columns that you want displayed.

Much like keywords, if you find any of these targets not performing well for you there’s an option to add them as category negatives from the reporting screen. Simply click the Negative Dynamic Ad Targets menu item near the top of the screen, click the plus sign and plug in your negatives. Also much like the keyword report you can see the actual search terms that triggered your dynamic ads. Click the Search Terms menu item next to the Negatives and view which terms have triggered your ads, along with associated metrics. We’re seeing a CTR of 2.94% for one of our dynamic ad groups, compared to an overall search ad CTR of 1.30%. Not bad!

Dynamic Ads reporting - Stikky Media

We’ve covered Dynamic Search Ads, dynamic ad groups and how reporting works for these features. Now it’s time for you to log into your Google Ads account and start experimenting with these cool features and seeing how well they do against your standard search ads. If you’re like us you might be surprised to see a substantial lift in performance!

Want to Take your Pay Per Click Campaign to the Next Level?

While a DIY mindset is a great way to approach pay per click campaigns, with the digital media industry changing constantly, augmenting your team with knowledgeable experts can makes it easier to outpace your competition. There are a lot of subtle nuances that can make a big difference.

If you need help optimizing your next pay per click campaign read more about our paid search marketing services. Of course, if you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to reach out.

AdWords Optimization: 4 Tips to Maximize Google Ads Experience

AdWords Optimization: 4 Tips to Maximize Google Ads Experience
Here at Stikky Media we have a great relationship with the Google Ads team, and one of the perks is that we get calls from the team whenever new features are rolled out. We got one such call when Google AdWords switched over to Google Ads, and as well as getting the rundown on the new Google Ads experience we also received a few great tips that we thought you’d want to know about. Keep in mind a couple of these tips are only available in the new Google Ads interface, so before you read on make sure you’ve switched to the new Google Ads Experience, and if you’re not sure click that link to learn how to tell the difference between the two.

And the top four Google Ads optimization tips for 2018 are (drumroll please):

1. Enable Parallel Tracking

Parallel Tracking might be an unfamiliar term but it’s good to learn about it now as it will be required of all Google Ads accounts come October 30th 2018.

Essentially, Google Ads’ tracking to date has been implemented by loading a Google Ads tracker followed by a tracking URL prior to the end user seeing the landing page. This leads to customers seeing one or more redirects (more depending on if additional tracking is loaded), leading to a longer load time of the actual landing page.

A key benefit of the new parallel tracking is the landing page is loaded right after the ad is clicked, with all the tracking loading in the background – in parallel – to the actual page being loaded. This improves the overall user experience for users clicking on ads as the page load time is quite a bit faster. An improved user experience correlates with better CTR.

How to Enable Parallel Tracking

Google Ads Parallel Tracking is buried pretty deep in the interface but once found is very easy to implement. So if you’re reading this prior to the end of October 2018 you only need to do the following to opt in for each of your accounts:

  1. In the main navigation column on the left that starts with Overview, click on Settings
  2. Click on Account Settings in the menu near the top of the screen
  3. Click Tracking near the top of the page, then click to enable Parallel Tracking

That’s it! If you have more than one Google Ads account you’ll be enabling Parallel Tracking the same way across each account.

How to enable Parallel Tracking

Learn more about Google Ads Parallel Tracking here, or to get some in-depth developer notes on what’s happening behind the scenes click here.

2. Link Google Ads and Google Analytics

If you haven’t already linked Google Analytics and Google Ads now’s the time. Linking the two accounts allows for Google Ads metrics to be imported seamlessly into the Google Analytics interface. However even if you’ve linked the two accounts the flow of data is generally a one-way street: aside from being able to easily import goals from Google Analytics as conversions in Google Ads, there isn’t much of a role for Google Analytics to play in the Google Ads interface. That is, until you import Google Analytics Metrics.

When Google Analytics metrics are imported into Google Ads, we start seeing some familiar website KPIs, such as bounce rate, appearing in our Google Ads reports. While Google Ads provides some excellent reporting out of the box, such as conversion tracking and ad click through rate, without importing Google Analytics metrics there’s a bit of a black box in the Google Ads interface with the actual traffic quality we’re receiving and how users are actually interacting with the site. Linking Google Analytics and Ads will open this black box and enable you to get stronger ROI from each pay-per-click campaign.

How to Import Google Analytics Metrics into Google Ads

So, to link the two accounts, and to import Google Analytics metrics into Google Ads, simply do the following:

  1. Click on the Tools icon in the Google Ads top nav, then click Linked Accounts
  2. You’ll see a group of accounts that you can link to Google Ads. Locate the Google Analytics one and click Details
  3. Scroll down to the Google Analytics view that corresponds to the Google Ads account you’re using, click the pencil icon next to that view to edit it and check off Link and Import Site Metrics so they both turn blue. (Note: if you have a lot of properties in your Google Analytics account you may need to show more rows than the default, which you can do near the bottom of the page).
  4. Click Save and you’re done

how to import Google Analytics metrics into Google Ads

If you haven’t linked these accounts before you’ll now start seeing Google Ads metrics in your Google Analytics account, under Acquisition > Google Ads. And if you haven’t imported site metrics before you can now start enabling those in your reports, as you’ll see in the next tip.

How to mport site metrics into Google Ads

3. Enable Bounce Rate in Google Ads

If you’re importing Google Analytics site metrics into Google Ads you might not be seeing anything different in your reports right off the bat. That’s okay; we actually need to pick a specific metric we want to see in Google Ads and enable it by editing the columns of our reports. If you don’t have experience tweaking your Google Ads reports then this is a great way to get your feet wet.

Why Add Bounce Rate to your Google Ads Reports?

I find one of the most helpful metrics to import into Google Ads is bounce rate, and one of the most relevant reports to add that metric to is the Ads report. This will give you a bit of insight that will help you in split testing your ads and testing your landing pages. For instance, if you have two ads that have similar click through and conversion rates, but one with a substantially lower bounce rate, you’ll know which one to delete and which to keep. As an example, when pausing a high-bounce rate ad and changing the landing page for one client, we saw bounce rate change by -37.5%, meaning bounce rate is now 37.5% lower. Pretty substantial!

Adding Bounce rate to Google Ads reports

Here’s how to add bounce rate to your Google Ads report:

  1. Click on Ads and Extensions. You can do this at the account, campaign or ad group level.
  2. Underneath the graph click Columns, then Modify Columns
  3. Scroll down and click on Google Analytics, and enable Bounce Rate. (You can also experiment with enabling other KPIs, such as Pages / Session.)
  4. Click Apply and that’s it

how to Enable Bounce Rate in Google Ads

You should now have Bounce Rate added as a column to your Ads report, and can sort your ads by highest/lowest bounce rate.

Sort bounce rate as column in Google Ads report

4. Change Match Type for High Average CPC Keywords

There isn’t anything too new about this tip, however it may simply be something that you had never thought to done as it involves using the search terms report slightly differently.

The search terms report is the place to go to find what searches actually triggered your ads. From there you can easily add these keywords to your account if you deem them relevant, or add them as negatives if you don’t. And if you have Broad Match keywords in any of your keyword sets, another use for this report is to sort your search terms by average CPC in descending order. Often you’ll be surprised at the high average cost of some of your broad match keywords, which may only be getting one or two clicks. From there you can either add the keywords as negatives or, if you like them, change the match type to something more specific like Phrase Match and add them to your account that way. For example, one of our agency’s own paid keywords, which is driving traffic to our SEO eBook, broad matched for the rather awkward phrase ‘how to make your website seo optimized’ – at a cost of $9.81 for one single click with no conversion! Needless to say that high cost, low performing keyword phrase is getting added as a negative.

how to Change Match Type for High Average CPC Keywords in Google Ads

To see these high CPC keywords do the following:

  1. Click into your keywords and above the graph click Search Terms, then Search Terms from the menu
  2. Sort by average CPC so that the keywords appear in descending order
  3. Note your low click, high CPC keywords, which may be broad match. Click the check box next to the keywords and either add them as negatives, if you don’t like them, or click Add as Keyword if you do
  4. If you’re adding broad match keywords, you can edit the keyword with quotation marks to change the match type to Phrase. You can also eliminate some of the words from the keyword phrase, and even set a max CPC if you felt a little sticker-shock from the price that you paid for the click
  5. Click Save and you’re done

As always keep an eye on the new keywords you’ve added and make sure they’re performing well. Dial up or down the bids accordingly.

How to Change Match Type - Keywords in Google Ads

Those are our top four keyword optimization tips for 2018, as discussed with the pros over at Google Ads. If you’ve got any questions leave us a comment, or let us know what your top tricks of the trade are!

Want to Take your Pay Per Click Campaign to the Next Level?

While a DIY mindset is a great way to approach pay per click campaigns, with the digital media industry changing constantly, augmenting your team with knowledgeable experts can makes it easier to outpace your competition. There are a lot of subtle nuances that can make a big difference.

If you need help optimizing your next pay per click campaign read more about our paid search marketing services. Of course, if you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Get Started with the New Google Ads Experience in 3 Easy Steps

Computer screen displaying Google logo - new google ads experience

Here at Stikky Media we’re big fans of adopting new technology (read: colossal geeks) and, given that we have several PPC clients using Google Ads, we’ve had quite a bit of time to play in the new interface.

Overall, the changes made from AdWords to the new Google Ads interface in 2018 have been welcomed, right down to the name: as we shift more attention away from traditional, text-based searches and use features such as re-marketing more, we see that we’re often not paying attention to keywords at all, at least not in the traditional sense.

If you haven’t yet delved into the wild world of the new Google Ads experience yourself, here’s a quick rundown on what to expect, from creating a campaign and setting a bid strategy to reporting and optimizing.

1. Creating a new campaign in Google Ads

When you log into Google Ads and click Campaigns from the left nav, you’ll be greeted by an inviting blue plus sign (very ‘appy’). Once clicked you’ll choose between creating a new campaign or loading another campaign’s settings, and off you go.

When you create a new campaign, you’ll notice a huge difference between AdWords and the new Google Ads: there’s a new campaign creation tool that is entirely goal-driven. Though there’s still an option to create a new vanilla campaign without using being goal-focused, you can tell that Google put goals front and center, and for good reason: goals are how we measure the performance of campaigns as advertisers, and allow us to make educated decisions on where to shift marketing budget.

Goal Types

Each of the goal types are relatively self-explanatory, from driving sales to app promotion. When you hover over each goal you’ll notice that the campaign type that’s associated with that goal is displayed. For instance, the website traffic goal is available for search, display, video and shopping campaigns, as each of these drive traffic to an advertiser’s website. The two goals associated with brand are only available for display and video campaigns, which makes sense given that brand-building campaigns typically run across the display network, rather than the search network which is the domain of direct response campaigns. Cool huh?

Goal types screen - new adwords interface 2018

After clicking into the goal type, you then choose between different campaign types and are then greeted with a few different options depending on the goal type. For this example we’re going to create a Sales-focused campaign, on the Search network, and can now select how we want our goal to be measured.

Dynamic Search Ads Feature

We’ve selected our goal and campaign types and are now off to the races. The next screen should look familiar – it’s fairly similar to the previous Settings screen in AdWords. However, in the new Google Ads experience a few things may stand out, including the front and center Dynamic Search Ads feature, which was previously buried in the settings. We’ll cover this in a separate post, but in a nutshell Dynamic Search Ads involves leveraging Google Ads technology to cobble together the appropriate landing page and ad headline, based on the user’s search query.

More Streamlined Bidding Options

Further, you’ll notice that bidding options are more straightforward, easier and tailored to the previously-selected goal type. For example, since we’re creating a Sales campaign here, the bid strategy drop-down defaults to conversions. Unlike the bad old days where an advertiser needed 15 conversions during a 30 day window to opt into CPA bidding, we can now select conversion bid strategies right from the get-go, including conversions and conversion value. Clicking on Select a Bid Strategy Directly reveals all the bid strategies available to us, most of which have some level of automation. You’ll notice the old favorites Target CPA, Enhanced CPC bidding and Manual CPC, and may also meet some new friends such as the sneaky Target Outranking Share.

Bidding options screen - new google ads interface

Ad Groups

After optionally creating site links we enter the familiar workflow of setting up ad groups (standard or dynamic depending on whether or not we opted into Dynamic Search Ads) and ads (text ads in the case of our Search campaign), and are then greeted with a nice little overview screen prior to pulling the trigger. With all those cheery bright blue checkmarks and buttons along the way we’re definitely encouraged to jump right in.

Campaign overview screen - new google ads interface

2. Reporting through the Overview Page

One of the cool new features and arguably the biggest change to the new Google Ads experience is the Overview page. Think of this as your reporting dashboard, with Google Ads curating several performance insights based on your campaigns. It’s like having your own personal PPC assistant feeding you custom reports on a custom dashboard. If you haven’t checked it out already, click Overview right near the top of the page and delve right in. Here’s some of the things that we’re seeing on our Stikky Media account right now:

  • A nice big graph top and center for which I can easily choose metrics through drop downs
  • New words pulled in from actual Google Searches – a nice feature for building up new positive or negative keyword lists
  • Biggest changes – great for seeing trends in campaign spend
  • Campaigns and Search Keywords – high level data on cost, clicks and CTR
  • Ads – both search and display ads
  • Demographics – this one is interesting and worth a look. See both the gender and age distribution of your visitors
  • Devices – a nice chart with the different devices and a few drop down options to select
    Day and hour – a breakdown of when your ads were clicked

All of these sections of the Overview report link into the section of Google Ads they correspond to, and have drop down menus for drilling further into the reports or seeing different data associated with them. By clicking the three vertical dots on the top right corner of each report you can tell Google whether or not the information was useful. You can tell Google put a lot into these reports and wants feedback from us advertisers on whether or not we like them. I think it goes without saying that they’re a pretty big hit with the Stikky team.

Most-shown search ads feature - new google ads interface

3. Optimization through the Google Ads Recommendations

We’ve covered account creation and reporting, so lastly we’ll get into optimization. As you’ve probably noticed, the new Google Ads experience really leverages automation, from the automated bid strategies to the automated reporting. Much like the previous Google AdWords interface, we’ve got Google’s own automated recommendations for reporting. Though the new Google Ads Recommendations may not be much different from the old, it is much more visually exciting, as with the Overview reports. If you haven’t used Google’s recommendations now’s the time to take a look.

We won’t get into each and every recommendation as they are very straightforward, but there are a few things we can mention in general. You’ll notice that they’re laid out in two columns featuring the same pleasing blue calls to action and links as we’ve seen throughout the rest of the interface, with plenty of breathing room to avoid looking cluttered. The recommendations themselves, such as adding keywords, can be applied directly from the Recommendations landing page, or dismissed or exported from the three vertical dots at the top.

Clicking into Viewing the recommendations plunges us deep into Google’s automated suggestions. For instance, Google Ads thinks that one of our ad groups is getting too broad, and has a recommendation for splitting it up into two separate ad groups. When I click further I can see how they’ve divvied up the keywords, and I can click further from there and actual select keywords and ads for a new prospective ad group. Very streamlined. Google Ads clearly wants to make our job easier in creating campaigns, ad groups and ads, and has given us multiple places to do so.

Optimization score in Google Ads - new google ads interface

Finally, up at the top there’s an optimization score, telling us how well optimized our accounts are. This is very encouraging and gives us something to strive for, and even gamifies Google Ads to a degree. (If my boss is reading this, how about some nice local craft beer in the fridge when we hit 100%?)

If you haven’t gotten time to play around in the new Google Ads interface yet, or have simply been too shy to create your first campaign, you’ll now have a pretty good idea of how to create a campaign, view reports and even optimize. The new Google Ads experience is definitely more streamlined than the previous AdWords interface and we’re definitely looking forward to any new features Google might roll out.

Need help with Google Ads?

It can be hard keeping up with the changes to Google AdWords and getting the most out of pay-per click campaigns. If you want to augment your existing team or even just let our experts do the work, learn more about our paid search advertising services.

Google Mobile-First Indexing: Optimize Your Mobile Site

mobile-first SEO

Most searches are made on a mobile device.

Earlier this year, Google announced that it was beginning to transition sites to mobile-first indexing. Increasingly, Google will crawl, rank and index the mobile version of a site instead of the desktop version, as was previously the case. Google Search Console will notify you when Google enables mobile-first indexing on your site.

What Does Mobile-first Indexing Mean for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Directly, not much; indirectly, a lot. There will continue to be just one index that Google uses for serving search results. As well, mobile-first indexing has no bearing on ranking in itself. However, since the mobile version will now be the primary version, it will also be the one that is ranked in most cases. A site that is mobile-friendly is more likely to be ranked higher.

Most Google searches are now made on a mobile device. Mobile-first indexing is one step towards forcing web development to respond to these new conditions and even to future scenarios that will likely involve AI. The amount of information on the web is increasing at an exponential rate. Google needs more efficient methods to catalogue information in order to respond to and prepare for the ways we access and consume information.

In the short term, it makes sense to optimize your website specifically for mobile devices. Looking further ahead, web development may move away from an organization based on URLs in favour of using Schema, on-page structured markup and XML feeds and with a greater reliance on Google cloud hosting. To read more about these concepts, Cindy Krum of MobilMoxie wrote an interesting series in 2017.

SEO Optimization for Mobile Devices

mobile-first indexing

Geotargeting is important since people often search using their cell phone for facilities and resources that are near them.

Mobile users want to find the information they need quickly and easily. These four tips will help optimize the mobile version of your site so it performs better:

    1. Make sure your mobile site loads fast. This criteria has become even more important since July when Google announced it’s Speed Update. Google will now focus on the loading speed on mobile devices to influence ranking. Try running your site through Google’s updated mobile speed test that measures the mobile speed of your website and compares it with standards in your industry.
    2. Pay attention to user experience (UX) on your mobile site. Make sure the page displays properly, with plenty of room to navigate by touch and with content that is legible and comfortable to read.
    3. Understand the mobile context. Users are often searching for facilities and resources such as stores, events or services that are near them. Geotargeting is important.
    4. Include meta titles and descriptions that take into account the mobile context.

Need help optimizing your mobile site?

If mobile-first SEO seems overwhelming or you simply don’t have time to do this on your own, we’re here to help. Drop us a note today.

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