by Marion Rouby
The introduction of Universal Analytics in 2013 was quite a big deal. The real difference between the old Analytics and Universal is that Universal tracks much more than just site visits. The old Analytics is based on a web statistics analysis program called Urchin, which dates back to 2005, so it’s no surprise that Universal offers more features and better insights.
Some of the most remarkable new offerings are:
User ID Control Universal is based on users rather than visits. It will look at user’s overall behaviour rather than focusing on disconnected visits.
Offline Conversions One of the components of Universal which is currently in public beta – the Measurement Protocol – allows developers to collect data from any device in Universal. This means it will be possible to link physical store transactions with PPC campaigns.
Custom Dimensions It is possible to set multiple custom dimensions in reports (with a maximum of 20 for regular customers, and up to 200 for premium).
CRM Data Universal can be given information from the client’s customer tracking database. This will give additional context to reports.
Advanced Segments Thanks to the move away from visit-based analytics, it will be possible to segment multiple visits. For example, you can create a segment as complicated as: visitors based in Paris who arrived on the website at 2pm, came back via a remarketing campaign and spent over 20€.
Session Timeouts The old Analytics gives a 30 minute non-customisable usage window – but with Universal you will be able to set session lengths of up to 4 hours long.
Add Custom Search Engines Universal allows you to add custom search engines (yell.com for example) to the organic search segments.
Exclude Organic Search Terms You can now remove brand/domain keywords from the organic search report.
These are only some of the changes introduced by Universal. Of course you can still use the old Google Analytics for now, but Universal will eventually become the new operating standard. As with the switch to Advanced Campaigns, it’s better to get in there early before the change is pushed automatically. You can upgrade without losing any data or changing your account settings.
by Laura Marley
Google have recently introduced a shared budget option in the AdWords interface. This feature allows selected campaigns to share one budget rather than having multiple separate maximum budgets.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
- Most of the overall budget will be diverted to the most successful campaigns, allowing the top performers to continue performing stronger for longer
- There is no need to reallocate budgets as the top performers will get the lion’s share
- If your goal is to build brand awareness, shared budget is a good option because it allocates your money to several different campaigns. The probability of generating a high number of clicks will increase, since in any given day it will be likely that at least one of your campaigns will be performing well
- You won’t have to monitor your budgets as closely, because any underspending campaigns included in a shared budget will see their spend automatically pushed to the campaigns that hit their caps sooner
However, Google shared budget will deplete your daily budget allowance without taking ROI and conversions into consideration
So who should use shared budgets?
If your campaigns are limited by budget, there are more viable options and this new setting may not be for you, but those who are trying to increase brand awareness could see an increase in performance when using shared budgets. Any accounts that have erratic campaigns where spend is unpredictable could use shared budgets to maintain a more stable level of performance.
How to get going with Shared Budget Adwords
Go to the ‘Campaign’ tab > Go to the left and click on ‘Shared Library’ and then ‘Budgets’ > Click on the ‘+New Budget’ button > Name your shared budget > Select the campaigns you want to participate > Enter the total budget you want to use on these selected campaigns.
It is a good idea to group campaigns with similar performance into a shared budget, for example: a group based on geo-targeting.
Be advised that delivery settings are applied at budget level and will override individual campaign settings. The outcome of this is that you will be automatically opted into ‘standard ad delivery’ and Google will recommend keeping this setting in order to avoid missing traffic in the later stages of the day. This becomes an issue when you consider that unless your traffic is typically spread evenly throughout the day, your campaigns may not receive the budget they need to achieve the most clicks during peak times. In order to avoid this, make sure you select ‘accelerated delivery’. Although this may result in campaigns being limited by budget, it will provide the best exposure for your marketing activity.
by Simo Ahava
Hiding keyword referral data behind the ominous (not provided) label was old news back in July–August 2013. Still, when the relative proportion of obscured keywords jumped over the 80% mark almost overnight, shock waves reverberated across the digital marketing community.
The suddenness of the change, and the ensuing silence on Google’s behalf, made one thing clear: it’s time to start looking for alternate ways of validating content and analyzing incoming search traffic.
Google Webmaster Tools has been around for a long time, providing us with search query data from a selected time period (up to 90 days in the past). Sure, it’s not as useful as keyword referral data, since we only see how our site and our landing pages fare on the SERP (search engine results page), and thus we can’t align the data with actual visit metrics. However, we do get information on the number of impressions and clicks our keywords provide for our pages in the SERP. We also get an indication of what the average position our site’s content has with relevant keywords.
Until very recently (31 Dec 2013) this data was, for some obscure reason, rounded to predetermined tableaus which Google called ‘buckets’. Well, now we can finally see the actual numbers and not just sampled estimates. Concrete, raw-as-it-can-get data is something that people working with statistics prize over all else, so this was a wonderful cap to a turbulent year in the Googleverse.
There are still some reservations as to the accuracy of Webmaster Tools data, but as an indication of what queries drive traffic to your website, it’s as good a SERP tool as any other.
Here’s the official word on the update: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.fi/2014/01/search-queries-not-rounded.html
Google Purges Authorship Results
by Gary Moyle
December also saw a pretty big drop in the number of authorship style results (search results with the author picture next to them). Matt Cutts, confirmed with Barry Schwartz from SearchEngineLand that Google had applied a 15% reduction in the amount of rich snippets displayed in their search results.
This was also something picked up by the MozCast features tool which also noticed a drop in authorship (see screenshot below) and resulted in general disgruntlement amongst webmasters as their authorship photos disappeared.
This move came as little surprise given that Cutts had previously announced this intention back in October 2013 at Pubcon. Given the sheer number of authorship results in its index it seems that Google was probably indexing and displaying authorship purely on the appropriate markup being in place. With little regard given to individual authority it was always likely that this was going to be exploited by publishers.
In fact this is still the case for some search queries. If we look at the query ‘10 copywriting tips’ below we can clearly see there are no shortage of authorship results since Google took action.
As we move into 2014 it’s more likely that Google will take into account other signals such as domain authority and social mentions before showing an author photo. Ultimately it’s very early days for G+ and Google is only just beginning to understand how to measure authorship so expect a lot more tweaks in the near future.
Since the 14th of November 2013, UK advertisers can use the Twitter Ads platform as a self served tool, with no minimum budget (it used to be £5k minimum before with no access to the tool). The only thing you need is a Twitter account and you are ready to reach 15M active users.
Advertisers can promote:
- Twitter accounts to get more followers
- Tweets to generate traffic and engagements (clicks, retweets, favorites, replies, follow…)
Obviously, if you are looking for Direct Response, Promoted Tweets are great
We have run some tests and we see a lot of potential for the travel industry. Below is our 3 step process to start collecting insights, traffic and hopefully, conversions.
Step 1: Targeting
As with Facebook Ads, one of the best way to target interest is to search for followers of relevant accounts (travel websites, competitors…) or with relevant interests:
These people might be looking for regular content and offers around travel, but you don’t know if they are actively looking for their next trip: they could have decided to follow the accounts a while ago.
Luckily, Twitter also provides good suggestions and a tool to search for accounts who have mentioned specific keywords.
So, a more precise way to reach active travel intentionists is to use to target users who have recently tweeted or engaged with a tweet containing specific keywords (destinations, countries, airports…):
The suggestion tool is also really helpful here, and there are a lot of synergies to create with your Paid Search existing campaigns.
On top of this, you can also be an opportunist and target people who are engaged or talking about a specific TV show:
Either for travel related shows, or for a more general one that you know will be promoting a specific destination.
In terms of location, you can only target people based in the UK and Ireland and you can only refine to some really broad areas.
Finally, you can specify gender and also target specific devices, handy if you want to promote an app for example:
Step 2: The Message
A basic link should like this:
This can be enhanced by using Twitter Cards on your website.
And if you want to go further, you could also use Lead Generation cards:
Step 3: Budget Allocation
While there is no minimum investment spend to launch this type of campaign, the more you spend, the more data you get, the more you learn. With the time spent on the setup of the campaign, it’s an investment that need to be leveraged
You need to set a maximum daily budget and you can select a pace for your spendings. We recommend trying to show the ads evenly throughout the day to collect data about the best hours for clicks and conversions.
For the same reason, we recommend to try at least seven days of testing to see the best days to interact with your audience, especially for travel where the customer journey can be quite long
Twitter will finally suggest you a bidding per engagement (retweet, reply, favorite, follow, or click anywhere on your ad).
Knowing this, we recommend limiting the number of possible clicks on your ad to the minimum; a (tracked) link to your website.
It is tempting to put a picture and a hashtag on your tweet, but clicks on them will cost you money, so keep this in mind.
There are questions you ask to your friends or followers before you ask your favourite Search Engine.
With more than 15M active users and a performance business model, Twitter is definitely ready to help advertisers reach their audience on a touchpoint they use on a daily basis.
Links with Paid Search are more obvious than with Facebook Ads, and with their retargeting functionality, Twitter can’t be considered just a Branding Channel anymore.
So, travel marketers, ready to give it a try?
Give us a call or ping us at http://twitter.com/netboosteruk