Paid Search

New AdWords “Conversions for Optimizations” Empowers Reporting and Bid Automation

By Paid Search, SEO, Web Analytics No Comments

Google is rolling out a new Conversions for Optimization setting in AdWords over the next couple of weeks that isolates a conversion action for reporting and bid automation.

With the Conversions for Optimization setting enabled, you’ll now be able to set bid strategies for specific conversion actions.

Google AdWords Conversions for Optimization

Optimizing Google ads is another way of saying you are improving the relevancy of your campaigns. This requires understanding how your ads connect to what your potential customers are searching for and how your messaging is carried through your campaigns—from click to conversion.

With the Conversions for Optimization setting enabled, brands can set bid strategies for specific conversion actions.

For example, if you’re tracking content downloads and sign-ups, you can set up bid strategies to optimize only for the higher value sign-up conversions.

The new reporting columns that come with this change are applicable and can be used with nearly any bid strategy, including Target ROAS and Enhanced CPC.

When the “Optimization” conversion setting is enabled in a campaign, New Conversions Optimization columns show performance for the optimized conversion type, even if you are bidding manually.  Essentially, you can isolate the conversion data for the conversion type that is most important to you in the reporting even without having to use bid strategies.

What Does This Mean For Brands?

Acronym’s, SVP, SEO, Winston Burton, offered his perspective.

“This is great news for paid search practitioners. ​

By default, the Google Ads system will optimize toward any conversion. ​An advertiser will likely have multiple on-site actions that are valuable to the business (product view, add to cart, email signup, sale, etc.). But, each operates at differing values; this leaves the advertiser in a position of trying to manually match different conversion types to ad delivery data, applying estimated values to conversion actions to hack the ROAS bidding system, and overall, not as accurate as they could be. After all, the behavior that leads to an email signup is likely not the same as that which leads to a completed sale.” ​

Now, brands can optimize their bidding strategies based on the desired conversion metric as the “Conversions column” will show the total number of conversions accrued.

If you need assistance with your paid search or SEO campaigns, contact us today. Our experts are here to help.

Acronym is a Finalist for Two U.S. Search Awards

By Acronym News, Paid Search, Programmatic, Social Media No Comments

Acronym is Recognized for Best Use of Local Search and Best Integrated Campaign

The U.S. Search Awards short list was released on Friday and Acronym nabbed two wins as a Finalist for The Best Use of Local Search and The Best Integrated Campaign. Winners will be announced on July 29th.

The recognized campaign for the Best Use of Local Search campaign spotlighted our work with a luxury hotel brand that sought to increase non-brand local Search rankings and traffic for 700 individual property websites, including hotel/resort, residences, spa, restaurant, and bar listings — all while driving measurable revenue through local, organic Search efforts.

Acronym developed and executed a framework of best practices for local listing optimizations, including each location’s most desired non-branded Search terms and gave the individual property listing managers clear and tailored processes for ongoing efforts to drive lasting results.

The average non-brand local rankings for individual properties increased by 29%.

The individual property website traffic increased by 8% and property revenue from local organic Search also increased by 8%.

Local property managers are continuing to implement Acronym’s processes, and we expect these results to continue to increase month-over-month as additional content is optimized through local search engines. 

Meanwhile, the recognized work for Best Integrated Campaign spotlights how Acronym helped Wharton Executive Education grow their audience, improve prospecting efficiency, and limit the barriers to entry for programmatic content while ensuring the brand’s presence across premium publishers to drive more online applications.

Acronym streamlined prospecting and awareness through seamless buying to dramatically improve efficiencies by creating strategic programmatic content alignment with publishers on premium websites including sites like,,,,,,,,,,,, and more.

This new approach to display and programmatic advertising reduced time spent on media buys, drove efficiencies, and increased performance, enabling Acronym to limit barriers to entry, buy directly on premium sites more efficiently, lower barriers to entry and develop a new process that performed the way you would through direct site buys, programmatically.

This is the third recognition for Acronym’s work with Wharton this year. Last month, U.S. Campaign named Acronym a Finalist for the Best Use of Digital/Programmatic and the social media campaign supporting Wharton’s Live Online Programs was named Agency Campaign of the Year by Sprout Social.

If you’d like help developing the right local Search, Programmatic or Social Media campaign for your brand, please let us know. Our media teams are ready to help!

New Features at Yelp

Yelp’s New Search Features Connect Customers with the Right Services Companies

By Insights & News, Paid Search, Uncategorized No Comments

Yelp announces new cost guides, an optimized search experience, and an easier way to review services businesses.

This week, Yelp announced new features including custom search filters, a new review flow, themed ads and Project Cost Guides to help customers find the right services companies. Here’s a breakdown of the new features and what they mean for services brands.

Custom search filters for services. 

New search filters enable users to define criteria to find fast-responding businesses (companies that respond within two hours), businesses that provide virtual consultations or businesses that specialize in a specific type of job or repair.

Businesses are selected to appear in themed ads based on their unique offerings and the kinds of jobs they specialize in. There is no additional cost to be included in themed ads and Yelp plans to roll out additional themes over time.

Generating more reviews for services businesses. 

When customers submit a project with Yelp’s Request-A-Quote, they will now be prompted to write reviews with a series of questions to initiate the review writing process.

Yelp’s Project Cost Guides provide details on what hiring a professional for a given project might involve, including an estimated cost, based on Yelp’s historical data.

There are cost guides for services in: home services, local services, automotive, event planning & services, pets, professional services, financial services, hotels and leisure, shopping as well as dedicated cost guides for specific services in numerous major cities.

Yelp Cost Guide

What this means for services brands.

These custom search filters for services deliver more tailored results for the user focused on their specialized needs.

Themed ads provide more visibility for businesses based on their categories. And, businesses featured in “fast responding” themed ads are seeing a nearly 10% decrease in cost per lead, according to data from Yelp’s early experiments.

Yelp’s new review prompt may help local services businesses improve their visibility on Yelp. Reviews are crucial for most local businesses — 87% of consumers look at reviews for automotive businesses, 86% look at them for repairs and 82% check them for plumbing and HVAC, according to a recent study.

These new features are designed to help Yelp compete against Google and other review platforms. If you have questions on how to make your brand more discoverable on Yelp, or in any online directory, please contact us. We are happy to help.

How-To Plan for SEO, Paid Media, & Social Media Success on #NationalPlanner Day

By Paid Media, Paid Search, SEO, Social Media, Uncategorized No Comments

Benjamin Franklin once said, “by failing to plan, you are planning to fail.”

We believe that to be a self-evident truth. After all, effective planning is the foundation of success. So, in honor of #NationalPlannerDay, some of Acronym’s group leaders are sharing their top three tips for effective planning across your SEO, paid media and social media programs.


1. Structured Data  

Marking up your content and having structured data is the best way for Google to find that content fast. Structured data gives your content to Search Engines in a way they can understand it in real time, as opposed to waiting and hoping that the bots find your content. 

This saves both bandwidth and time.  It is also important to understand Search Engines are playing a ‘long game’ with structured data as it enables a far more efficient way to effectively answer a search query with a personalized and factual set of results. This is called ‘data retrieval’ versus the traditional and time-consuming exercise of ‘information retrieval’.

2. Voice Search and Task Completions

Search will transcend mediums yet again in the very near future. Like the meteoric trajectory we saw with the mobile device type revolution, where the preference swapped from desktop to mobile driven search, text-based search will soon be surpassed by Voice Driven Search with more results sets being of the audible variety.

Being prepared for this future of Voice means creating resourceful dynamic experiences that not only solve for the micro-moment but also personify your brand to the customer, creating lasting affinities into the next frontier of Digital.

Critical steps to take now include creating Actions for the Google Assistant and Skills for Amazon’s Alexa. Voice assistants represent a powerful application of Voice search and represent one of the leading behavioral influencing sources for quickly moving consumers off text search and into Voice. Soon Voice assistants will be able to complete tasks and you should be ready for that moment.

3. Creating Content for 5G  

Be prepared for 5G. 5G will speed up and change the content experience allowing new and innovative ways to connect with customers.

Hyper-personalized content delivery, high-bandwidth digital experiences, faster websites will ensure the CX is exceptional. It’s also predicted that the usage of ad blockers will go down, allowing advertisers to serve ads effectively.

Digital will evolve from 2D to 3D, and interactive and live content will become the norm.

3 STEPS FOR PAID MEDIA – Gregg Manias, SVP, Performance Media

1. Establish Parameters for the Plan

Begin by defining the overall objective you want to achieve and the specific conversion goals to demonstrate success. You also want to determine the timing of the campaign and consider the opportunities and challenges inherent in that timing. Also, plan for the frequency of the message within that timing.

Next, you need to understand who the target audience is and examine their online behaviors and media preferences.

Finally, determine your overall budget and KPIs as this will drive the spend allocation and metrics for success.

2. Analysis Historical Performance & Research Landscape

After defining the parameters, you should review past media performance at every possible level to understand how it has traditionally performed. When you’re running ads online, you have to know what you’re spending your money on, and which ads are delivering the results you need.

This will help determine what needs to be changed to achieve the new goals based on where you’ve seen success in the past.

From there, you want to research the category landscape, target audiences, and all data and insights available to you.

3. Identify Proper Media Mix Tied to Parameters

After taking the learnings from historical plans and research, you want to create an integrated media plan that ties back to all the parameters.

It’s important not to throw money at every shiny new channel. Remember that each media channel you use might obtain a single objective from the parameter.

For example, YouTube might be used to capture a younger audience in the awareness stage, while Bing might be used to capture demand from an older demographic who use a desktop device.

So, be sure you know what each channel offers in terms of the target audience and types of engagements within each media opportunity.

3 STEPS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS – Mary Sutter, Director, Social Media

1. Use Social Listening to Stay Relevant With Social Trends

By listening to your target audience online and paying attention to the topics that most interest them, you can deliver organic content that meets their needs.

It can be very easy to believe you already know what your target audience wants from your brand(s). But, social media audiences, conversations and opportunities change constantly. So, listening to your target audience and even to your competitors can give you an edge in your content planning.

There are a number of terrific tools that enable you to follow the topics, issues, concerns and trends that matter to your target audience. We recommend Sprout Social as a terrific Social Listening and planning tool.

2. Utilize a Social Media Calendar to Stay Organized, But Be Flexible for Timely Posts

We all know content calendars are a useful way ensure you consistently deliver compelling content that addresses all key messages and product positions.

But, it’s also important to allow for spontaneous content that leverages memorable moments in time and/or allows you to include your brand in trending conversations.

There is something amazing about ‘spontaneity’, especially on social media.

People love it because it’s authentic. It’s not produced. It’s real. It just comes out of the moment. Of course, you want to ensure your in-the-moment content remains “on-brand.” Spontaneity in social media works when it’s still relevant to your audience. Don’t just jump on any bandwagon. Be selective as you mix spontaneity with planned content.

3. Track & Analyze Your Content To Determine What Works & What Doesn’t.

Too often, brands take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to social media. But, this could result in putting time and resources behind content that doesn’t deliver engagement or click-through.

It’s imperative you review the social media analytics (tied to your specific KPIs) so you focus on the content types that truly connect with your customers.

If you would like assistance with your planning process in Search, Paid Media, Paid and Organic Social Media or Business Analytics, please contact us today. In the meantime, Happy #NationalPlannerDay!

The Top 7 PPC Trends of 2017

By Paid Search No Comments

As 2017 winds to a close, here’s a look back at the seven biggest trends in PPC – and what lies ahead in paid search in 2018:

1. AI and Machine Learning

Search Engine Land (SEL) went as far as calling 2017 both the “year of the machine” and the “year of AI in search” because in part search engines are increasingly integrating machine learning into their products, such as ad rank thresholds, smart display campaigns and data-driven attribution, as well as automated bidding strategies and dynamic search ads.

In Search Engine Journal (SEJ), Purna Virji, senior manager of global engagement at Microsoft, agreed AI will continue to impact search marketing in 2018, enabling marketers to more effectively target and engage their audiences. This is in part because AI helps ensure results are more accurate and tailored to individual consumers and it yields better analytics.

2. Better Targeting

SEL noted audience targeting options expanded throughout 2017, such as Bing Ads (and Google) launching in-market, custom, custom intent and similar audiences. Google also expanded Customer Match – the AdWords feature that lets users show ads to their customers based on the data about those customers that it shares with Google – to include retargeting lists based on customer phone numbers and addresses.

“The popularity of Facebook’s audience-focused, people-based marketing approach largely precipitated this shift over the years as Google has loosened the reigns on its user data and shifted to signed-in data for audience development and targeting,” SEL said.

Virji said she expects to see even better targeting thanks to in-market audiences in particular. These curated lists of consumers are created when predictive intelligence identifies users who have shown purchase intent signals within a particular category. Virji said these lists make it easy to deploy campaigns and allow brands to get in front of new consumers.

In the same post, Ilya Cherepakhin, executive director at Acronym, agreed additional audience targeting capabilities mean marketers can better tailor ads, experiences and monetization strategies.

“Successful marketers will set themselves apart by customizing their efforts at scale and creating dedicated strategies for paid search prospecting together with retargeting,” he said.

In addition to targeting, Aaron Levy, senior team lead of paid search at Elite SEM, noted audiences and automation will work together to dominate PPC in 2018. Thanks to all the data Google in particular has on consumers, it can map audiences into categories and Levy expects to see more robust automation tools added to the mix as a result.

3. Attribution

SEL noted Google also launched multi-channel attribution service Google Attribution in beta in May, which aims to give users a bigger picture of how their channels and campaigns — at all stages of the funnel — are contributing to the bottom line and – what’s more – the data can feed back into AdWords or DoubleClick to inform bidding strategies.

“That’s the real motivation here; it’s not going to be the silver-bullet answer to everyone’s attribution challenges,” SEL said. “From a Google campaign perspective, it will provide more cross-channel insights than AdWords or Google Analytics does currently.”

Google also launched tools to better measure online-to-offline conversions, like its in-store sales measurement tool and YouTube location extensions, which help retailers see the correlation between videos and foot traffic. (Bing, too, launched an Offline Conversion Import tool in 2017.)

4. Local Products

Growth in local search is driving the development of ad products aimed at connecting users to local businesses, such as Local Services by Google and a local services directory and lead generation via Google Assistant and Google Home, as well as local inventory ads in local knowledge panels in search results.

5. Testing

Another notable shift is in ad testing as Google has pushed for advertisers to let machines choose the best ads to serve.

SEL noted Google restarted its Ads Added by AdWords pilot in September in which suggestions are generated for text ads in some ad groups to get more advertisers running more ads in their ad groups.

6. Voice

For his part, Cherepakhin said voice changes mobile user behavior, which, not surprisingly, means mobile search strategies will have to evolve further in the coming year.

“True leaders will go beyond executional adaptation, rethinking the entire marketing planning for the voice user,” he said. “It will be necessary to have new marketing objectives, reconsider what products or services are the best fit for voice users and create new mobile experiences for them.”

7. Amazon

SEL also noted Amazon loomed large in PPC in 2017, expanding ad offerings on, as well as via discovery and Alexa and this will also undoubtedly remain a space to watch in 2018.

Amazon’s Ten Most Memorable Moments of 2017

By Discovery, Paid Search No Comments

2017 has no doubt been a year for the record books, from the inauguration of the 45th president to protests like #TakeAKnee and #MeToo and mega storms like Harvey, Irma and Maria and wildfires in both Northern and Southern California.

But 2017 has also seen plenty of headlines from a single company: Amazon.

“There’s not a retail Client we’ve worked with this year that has not had discussions with us regarding Amazon,” said Daniel Olduck, EVP of Global Strategy at Acronym. “Some of those discussions have been in the context of an increasingly important advertising partner and leveraging its new platforms, others as a troublesome competitor encroaching on their activity and marketshare. Often a hybrid of the two. This has demonstrated how huge a 2017 Amazon has had in impacting retail in its advertising solutions, its marketing and its overall user prominence. We’ve had to be increasingly nimble as an agency to react to its growth in the marketplace and have had a big focus on Amazon solutions in 2017 and into 2018.”

Here’s a look back at the ten things we think are most noteworthy about Amazon in 2017:

  1. Soliciting pitches for HQ2.

In September, Amazon announced it was looking for a site in North America for a second headquarters dubbed HQ2.

This request yielded 238 proposals from 54 states, provinces, districts and territories eager to host Amazon, its $5-billion construction project and “as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs,” along with what Amazon expects to also include “tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.”

These 54 suitors were eager to flex their muscles – proposals included gimmicks like New York lighting up landmarks like the Empire State Building in orange; Tucson, Arizona sending a cactus (which Amazon could not accept); the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri writing 1000 five-star product reviews; Birmingham, Alabama setting up giant Amazon boxes and Dash buttons throughout town; and Stonecrest, Georgia offering to rename itself Amazon.

The location of HQ2, however, remains to be seen.

  1. Quietly ramping AAP.

Amazon shocked the digital advertising world in March when its Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP) was rated the most-used DSP in its inaugural appearance in a report from analytics firm Advertiser Perceptions, beating out even Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager. And, according to its third quarter earnings report, Amazon’s “other” revenue, which Digiday says is mostly ad sales, grew year-over-year to $1.12 billion.

That may be small potatoes compared to Google and Facebook, but Amazon certainly has growth in its sights. The ecommerce giant made its first appearance at the Search Marketing Expo conference in New York in October, an event that caters specifically to the search marketing community. There, Colleen Aubrey, vice president of performance advertising at Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), used her panel to detail Amazon ad products and tools, as well as tips for using them to maximize ROI.

  1. Coolly dropping $14B for Whole Foods Market.

Another surprise move came in June when Amazon announced it was buying the Whole Food Market brand for nearly $14 billion. The deal closed in August and has since resulted in lower prices “on a selection of best-selling staples,” Amazon Lockers in Whole Food stores, Whole Food product availability via grocery delivery service Amazon Fresh and lower prices on Thanksgiving turkeys for Prime members as Amazon seeks to find synergies between the brands and encourage consumers to not only become Prime members, but also purchase Echo devices.

Meanwhile, platforms like Google, Walmart and are banding together to innovate in online grocery themselves, looking to offer perks like voice orders, in-store pickup, drone delivery and high-quality private label products.

  1. Launching a voice-enabled device with a screen.

Amazon rolled out a number of new iterations of its voice-enabled Echo devices this year, including Echo Show, an Echo with a screen so “now Alexa can show you things,” like music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts and to-do and shopping lists. Users can also make hands-free calls. And as similar devices from Google, Facebook and Apple are also reportedly coming out with screens – and perhaps even touchscreens – and voice assistants like Alexa are no longer theoretically limited to a single answer, there’s speculation we’re moving even closer to a search experience that flows across devices.

  1. Outselling pretty much everybody on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Amazon has had a very good holiday season so far, calling Cyber Monday 2017 “the single biggest shopping day worldwide in the company’s history” in which customers ordered hundreds of millions of products – including millions of Alexa-enabled devices. Per data from analytics company Slice Intelligence, Amazon accounted for nearly one-third of all online sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as reports say Amazon could control nearly half of all US ecommerce sales in 2017.

Per Adobe’s figures, US customers spent $5.03 billion on Black Friday and $6.59 billion on Cyber Monday 2017. And while that’s nothing to sneeze at, it’s still just a drop in the bucket compared to Alibaba, which sold $25.3 billion overall on Singles Day, prompting questions about whether US retailers should start their holiday promotions even earlier in 2018 to capitalize, too.

  1. Making lots of money for Jeff Bezos.

Thanks to Black Friday, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth pushed past $100 billion, meaning it’s been a pretty good holiday season for him, too. His evolution from online bookseller to ecommerce titan was also illustrated in a popular 2017 meme (of sorts).

  1. Winning its first Oscar at the 89th Academy Awards.

While Amazon won only two Emmys in 2017, it nabbed its first Oscars in February as Amazon Studios’ Manchester by the Sea and The Salesman picked up awards.

  1. Wearing rose-colored glasses for Prime Air.

In June, Amazon freaked out the nation when sketches of plans for beehive-like urban drone docking stations emerged, pointing to an all-too-real dystopian future. While Amazon seems to remain optimistic about this so-called Prime Air delivery service, speculation remains about how realistic drone delivery really is in the US.

  1. Rolling out Amazon Key – and letting itself into customers’ homes, too.

Similar to Volvo’s in-car delivery service for the 2015 holiday season, Amazon recently launched Amazon Key, an in-home delivery and access service that allows consumers to get packages delivered directly into their homes and to grant access to people they trust. Some, however – even in the Bezos-owned Washington Post – complain Amazon Key is the “most aggressive effort I’ve seen from a tech giant to connect your home to the Internet in a way that puts itself right at the center.”

  1. Still working on Amazon Go.

Amazon spent much of the year quietly testing Amazon Go, its checkout-less convenience store concept that allows customers to simply pick up what they need and walk out, in Seattle in a beta program open to employees. Amazon says the checkout- and line-free experience is made possible thanks to computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning.

“Our Just Walk Out Technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart,” Amazon says.

And, reports say, it is “almost ready for prime time.” (Get it?)

  1. Debuting Instant Pickup – and trying to win the hearts and minds of Millennials.

Finally, in August, Amazon debuted Instant Pickup for Prime members in multiple college towns throughout the US, enabling anyone with the munchies to order products like snacks and drinks and pick up those items at specified locations within two minutes.

Wow, Danny Sullivan! What A Major Contribution That Was.

By Archives, News, Paid Search, SEO No Comments

By Mike Grehan


This week, someone whom I’m very proud to call a longtime friend, stepped down from his company and its various publications and events. Not usually a big deal when someone is looking for new opportunities, or maybe wants to change their career entirely and do something different. You hear about that a lot.

However, this is Danny Sullivan, one of the most renowned and authoritative voices in the search marketing industry. With a geeky one page website hosting, probably, the first Webmaster’s Guide to Search Engines ever published, he helped to launch an industry. And from a small event in 1999 dedicated to bringing together like-minded people with an interest in world wide web search engines, that grew to be the largest search marketing event on the planet, he did it all.

There are many (perhaps hundreds) of conference speakers and industry writers and commentators that have enjoyed long-term friendships with Danny. In fact, many of them got their first speaking or writing gigs courtesy of the ever-approachable Danny.

I could fill up this page (and more) covering his achievements and accolades in the industry. However, here’s a much better idea. A while back Danny whooshed up to the 65th floor of the Empire State Building to visit the Acronym team, and join me for a video feature called Live on 65.

So, you can hear Danny himself talk about how he got started in the industry, how he watched it grow, and where he saw it going.

Personally, I want to thank Danny, bottom of the heart style, for the support and friendship he’s shown me during the entire time we’ve known each other. I don’t doubt for one second that this is not the last we’ve seen of Danny in the search industry. But for now, as he takes a break and recharges his batteries, I want to wish him the best of luck in whatever it is he decides to do next.

That also comes from Acronym founder, Anton Konikoff, another longtime friend of Danny’s, and the entire Acronym team. All the best, Danny. You and family are always welcome in the Empire State Building whenever you’re in town.



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Click here to view the original Live on 65 featuring Danny Sullivan.


AcroBabble – Going (Creatively) Digital – August 25, 2016

By Archives, News, Paid Search, SEO, Social Media, Web Analytics No Comments

Going (Creatively) Digital


Welcome to ‘Acrobabble’ where we check-in with our team members to see what industry news piece that have made it onto their reading list.

Winston Burton | VP, SEO

Google says bots are the main target of Keyword Planner changes; a lot of questions remain

This is interesting because all search engine marketers use the insights and volumes associated with Google Keyword Planner to optimize our SEO and PPC campaigns. With this data being limited, we are losing insights into which keywords have volume and it limits our focus areas from an optimization perspective. We need to fully understand why Google is doing this and what benefits they are getting from it because they could have put in a Captcha to stop bot traffic.


Samantha Kretmar | Social & Research Analyst

Facebook’s Released Another New App to Appeal to Teen Users

This article offers some good insight into yet another offering from Facebook which attempts to place the platform as the leader in the emerging video content trend.  As marketers look to the future of social media and online content, Facebook’s new “Lifestage” application gives additional weight to the argument that video will emerge as the dominant content form in the near future.


Peter Semetis | Director, PPC

[APK Download] Chrome for Android Beta 53 enables the new Payment Request API, allows muted video to auto-play

This Fall, it’s heavily rumored that Google and Apple will be rolling out mobile payment options for mWeb. The Android blogger analyzed the code behind Chrome-Android beta 53 and found a hint of what Google’s readying for Holiday ’16.

“The most interesting addition in version 53 is a new API for quickly checking out on mobile online purchases. It’s sort of like the streamlined payment options already offered by PayPal and Visa, but it works with any payment system and it’s built into the browser.

Of course this kind of functionality requires websites to explicitly support it, and that isn’t likely to happen in the short term. If it’s going to pick up, Google needs to aggressively promote the future to web retailers – perhaps some integration with the paid Google Shopping service is in order.”



Brian Ratzker | Director, SEO

Google’s Chrome Browser to Block Flash Starting in September

This is a good FYI to anyone that still uses Flash.

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Search Less, Pay More on eBay

By Archives, Paid Search No Comments

Ebay_295x175Search less, pay more. That’s the main takeaway of three economists who did a deep dive on 500,000 eBay users’ search habits over a 30-day period in 2014. Their recently published findings differ from previous research on search behavior and are thus worth examining.

By default, eBay displays search results using a ranking algorithm called “Best Match.” This algorithm was created to display items in the order that best predicts expected eBay revenue, maximized by increasing the probability that a product is purchased times its sale price.

The researchers from eBay and the universities of Chicago and California, Berkeley found that people searched an average of 36 times per transaction. According to their calculations published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, people saved an average of $15 on purchases for every hour they spent searching.

Among the major findings:

  • Consumers save, on average, 25 cents per search page and about 75 cents for each day spent searching.
  • Most users do not “unsort” best match.
  • Many users drop off in the first few minutes of sessions, suggesting that many searchers abandon the site if they do not quickly find what they are looking for.
  • The process starts with a “what would I like” phase, followed by more of a “find a good deal” phase. This behavior fits neither the existing fixed-sample nor sequential search model.
  • Whereas a search engine like the one at eBay is tuned to encourage immediate purchase, the site might be better served if it thought holistically about this search funnel and helped consumers learn about the attributes of products in a way that ultimately led them step by step down the process instead of assuming that they are at the end of it.

Ryan Pitcheralle, VP of the Digital Center of Excellence at Acronym, whose background includes a stint at eBay, offers some observations about the research.

The thing about eBay is that it really is a truly unique shopping experience. More than half of the products sold there are actual auctions, meaning you can bid for price. So with that in mind, most of the searches on eBay come from users looking for something very particular that is no longer available in the mainstream. This notion could speak to the high bounce rates, as the product is either available or not. Casual check-ins of discerning seekers looking for the gems they seek are the norm.

There are a couple reasons for the number of searches to reach a transaction being surprisingly high. One of them being the “Best Match” filter. For every search, this filter essentially reorders the next page of results as the query is refined. This tends to lend itself to a user behavior of continuing to refine the query. The other reason is that most users seek something very particular, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they know exactly what they seek. Things can be commonly known by a multitude of labels. So with that in mind, searchers will first seed with a general query – a broad one. Then based on the results and the labels they use, the users will pick up on some additional labeling nuances, maybe a product ID or full product name, perhaps even an SKU. All of this can be interpreted by the user on the fly from perusing the results. Each viewing suggests new “seeds” to use when refining their search. But I think, above all, users want to be sure they sought the right way. As in, did they look hard enough for that diamond in the rough? Did they go deep enough past Best Match to find what’s hidden behind the algorithm? These things drive up searches leading to a sale.

With regard to the principles of intent-based marketing, the user may start with an early stage “what would I like?” and then move into the more transactional “How cheap can I find it?” With eBay, though, the behavior already starts very well down in the buyer’s journey. Remember, it’s an auction site and it’s not as if eBay merchandises its products extremely well across all the categories it actually points SKUs to. So users on eBay definitely have their hand on their credit cards.

So what can online sellers do? Research the same way as users. Find the right labels and use them all. And above all, the more product pictures, the more sales. Images sell products that you can’t touch. On eBay, the content is product content. Product content is content that satisfies transactional intent. Very little “I’m only looking” occurs on eBay. It’s a deep entry site. Most traffic enters on internal pages and not the home page as most retail sites assume.

The research can be accessed here.