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paid search Archives - acronym

Google Launches New Features to Performance Max in Time for the Holidays

By Paid Media No Comments

Google is upgrading Performance Max campaigns with new features specific to promoting holiday sales more efficiently.

Compatibility With Performance Planner

Brands and marketers can now forecast the results of Performance Max campaigns with the Google Ads Performance Planner tool. The feature was previously available for Search, Shopping, Display, App, Video, and Local campaigns and is now compatible with Performance Max.

Google explains:

“You can forecast how your campaign may perform in the future and simulate what could happen when you adjust elements like your campaign budget and ROAS or CPA targets. Assess how changes to campaigns could affect key metrics like conversion value. Performance Planner’s forecasts are also adjusted for seasonal events so you can explore your potential holiday opportunities in the upcoming weeks.”

Asset Group Scheduling

With this update, Asset groups in Performance Max can now have automated rules. This allows marketers to schedule campaigns and utilize asset groups when needed.

With automated rules, you can also set ads to run at specific times of the day and schedule asset groups, such as preparing a set of holiday-themed content ahead of a special sale or key moment in time.

More Testing of Headlines

Google is increasing the number of test headlines you can upload to Performance Max asset groups from five to fifteen.

Adding more headlines enables Google to test a greater variety of combinations to identify the grouping that performs best.

Explanations For Online Sales Campaigns

Google is also adding new explanations specific to Performance Max campaigns for online sales with a product feed. When running a Performance Max campaign for an online sale, you may see explanations that offer an analysis of your product status and top sellers.

With this data, retailers can understand better which products had the most significant sales spike during the holiday shopping season.

First-Party Audience Insights

It’s no secret that cookies are going away in the coming year. So, marketers are seeking new alternatives to capture data insights.

Advertisers can now add data segments as audience signals in Performance Max campaigns, which helps Google find more customers for your brand who are likely to convert.

Data segments will be added to audience insights on the Insights page in the coming weeks. This allows you to learn more from the data you’re collecting firsthand and see which of your customer lists are converting best.

Best Practices for the Coming Holiday Season

Google has shared the following best practices for advertisers using Performance Max during the holiday shopping season:

  • Adjust campaign budgets and ROAS or CPA targets leading up to peak holiday periods. This will help maximize visibility when customers are actively shopping.
  • Consider using seasonality adjustments when running a sale that will drastically change conversion rates for longer than seven days.
  • To promote sales of specific products, create separate campaigns with their own targets and budgets.

If you need assistance leverage Google’s Performance Max or with any of your digital marketing needs, please contact us today. Our experts are here to help.

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.

Global Ad Trends: The Rising Cost of Incremental Reach

By Paid Media No Comments

Maintaining campaign reach in a fragmented media market is a growing challenge. WARC Media released a report on the rising cost of incremental reach.

Key findings include:

  • Linear TV represented 37.9% of daily media consumption in North America; by 2022, that percentage is forecast to drop to 24.5%.
  • In the US, TV CPMs are forecast to reach $73.14 in 2022, an increase of 40.0% on pre-COVID levels in 2019.
  • Channels like BVOD provide an alternative source of incremental reach; however, OTT ad costs are rising, too.
  • Attention research suggests that not all incremental reach is equally effective; channels with higher CPMs may deliver better-quality attention.

What This Means For Brands:

Mass reach via linear TV may become harder to achieve as media consumption fragments. In 2013, linear TV represented 37.9% of daily media consumption in North America; by 2022, that percentage is forecast to drop to 24.5%. Meanwhile, linear TV ad costs have spiked since the pandemic.

This trend of declining linear television viewership and rising TV media costs is encouraging advertisers to pursue incremental reach elsewhere, especially online where channels with higher CPMs may deliver better-quality attention. In paid social, for example, CPMs increased by 33% between 2019 and 2021.

As media consumption behaviors change, cross-channel measurement is vital to optimizing reach strategies. Brands need to be able to pivot quickly to meet shifts in consumer trends.

If you need assistance understanding where and how your audience is consuming media, contact us today. We’re here to help.

Google Continues Third-Party Cookies For Another Year

By Analytics No Comments

Google Chrome extends the deadline for deprecation of third-party cookie support into 2024.

Google delayed the deprecation of third-party cookies in Chrome by another year, with plans to start phasing them out in 2024 instead of 2023 as originally planned.

Google needs more time to test its Privacy Sandbox initiative, which is a less intrusive solution for delivering targeted advertising. Anthony Chavez, Vice President of Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative, stated in a blog post:

“The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome. This deliberate approach to transitioning from third-party cookies ensures that the web can continue to thrive, without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting.”

Google plans to gradually transition from third-party cookies to the Privacy Sandbox rather than abruptly replacing them with something new. A trial version of the Privacy Sandbox API is available to developers. In August, the trial will expand to millions of people globally.

Chavez continues:

“By Q3 2023, we expect the Privacy Sandbox APIs to be launched and generally available in Chrome. As developers adopt these APIs, we now intend to begin phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome in the second half of 2024. As always, you can find up-to-date timelines and milestones on the Privacy Sandbox website.”

For marketers and advertisers, this means more time before adjusting your advertising strategies to target Chrome users.

At Acronym, we believe this move away from third-party cookies isn’t such a bad thing. Cookies were always directional. By focusing on the total customer journey and their engagement with your branded content or within your own app, you can capture more meaningful data, faster, and utilize it to deliver the experiences your customers crave. 

We’ll keep you posted on more cookie news from Google. In the meantime, if you need help transitioning to a more comprehensive view of your customer data, please contact us today. We’re 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 Finance.Yahoo.com, USAToday.com, Newsweek.com, Forbes.com, SFGate.com, CNN.com, NewYorkTimes.com, NewYorkPost.com, HuffPost.com, CBSNews.com, WashingtonPost.com, BusinessInsider.com, 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!

50% of Marketers Hinder ROI by Underinvesting in Media, Nielsen Finds

By Paid Media, Uncategorized No Comments

Nielsen’s first-ever ROI Report demonstrates some of the gaps in marketers’ budgets, channels and media strategies that are negatively affecting ROI.

The report found that while about 50% of media plans are underinvested by a median of 50%, ROI can be improved 50% with an ideal budget, which Nielsen describes as the “50-50-50 Gap.”

“In a time when there are more channels than ever to reach desired audiences, it’s critical that insights on ROI are attainable and easy to understand. Brands can’t afford to waste valuable ads on the wrong audiences. By investing wisely and having a balanced strategy of both upper-funnel and lower-funnel initiatives, brands can reach the right audiences and maximize their ROI.”

Imran Hirani, vice president of media and advertiser analytics at Nielsen

The report found that media spend should be between 1% and 9% of a company’s revenue, with challengers spending more and larger brands spending less.

The report also found that overspending isn’t as problematic as underspending, which affects digital video (66% underinvested), display (60%), social (43%) and even TV (31%).

How to optimize ad spends, measure returns and improve metrics.

Nielsen’s “50-50-50 Gap” finding shows that while many media plans are often underinvested, results can be improved with better budgets.

  • Full funnel marketing: To grow ROI, brands should pursue a balanced strategy for both upper and lower funnel initiatives. Nielsen found that adding upper-funnel marketing to existing lower- and mid-funnel marketing can grow overall ROI by 13-70%.
  • Emerging media: It is difficult for brands to spend big amounts without proof that the new media works, but spending small amounts can make it hard to see if the media is working. Nielsen found that podcast ads, influencer marketing and branded content can deliver over 70% in aided brand recall, and that influencer marketing ROI is comparable to ROI from mainstream media.
  • Ad sales growth strategy: Ultimately, ROI will inform publisher pricing power. Publishers are not just competing against others in their channel, but also against other channels, so comparing channel ROIs can help set pricing strategy. The ROI Report uncovered that social media delivers 1.7x the ROI of TV, yet social gets less than one-third of TV ad budgets.
  • Audience measurement: Campaigns with strong on-target reach deliver better sales outcomes. However, only 63% of ads across desktop and mobile are on-target for age and gender in the U.S., meaning that on the channels with the most exhaustive data coverage and quality, over one-third of ad spend is off-target. To capitalize on opportunity and drive impact, advertisers should prioritize measurement solutions that cover all platforms and devices, with near-real time insights.

Along with channel underinvestment, Nielsen found that only 63% of ads on desktop and mobile are on-target for age and gender in the U.S., despite high levels of data coverage and quality in the channels. Advertisers should prioritize cross-platform and cross-device measurement solutions and near-real time insights to drive impact.

If you need assistance with your media strategy, contact us today. We are here to help.

Trust in Advertising is on the Decline – But Search, Social and Programmatic Still Deliver

By Content Marketing, Programmatic, SEO, Social Media No Comments

It’s no secret that consumer trust in advertising has been steadily declining in recent years. But, it’s not all bad news for brands as reports indicate consumers still trust some channels over others. For example, Nielsen’s Trust in Advertising study found that brand sponsorships are among the most trusted advertising sources among global consumers, yet most marketers don’t readily consider newer ad formats like brand integrations, sponsorships and product placements in their media planning. This is where programmatic strategies can help brands connect with customers by leveraging the built-in trust of these partner integrations.

The report also highlights how important digital channels have become from a marketing perspective, evidenced by significant increases in planned spending across search and social media.

Digital marketing channels are attractive because they drive sales in the current quarter, not the next and deliver real-time conversion metrics. Marketers surveyed by Nielsen believe search and social media are the most effective for their businesses.

Meanwhile, The Edelman Trust Barometer has shown that both trust and reputation are correlated with actual and intent to purchase, but that trust is in many ways the more powerful factor. For example, 61% of people globally say that a good reputation may get them to try a product; but unless they come to trust the company behind the product, they will soon stop buying it regardless of its reputation.

So, how can a brand improve its reputation and create the kinds of connections that convert?

According to Edelman, consumers most want Diversity, Authenticity, Transparency, Social Responsibility, Data Security, Valued Opinion and Purpose from brands.

Marketers can demonstrate these brand attributes through their message as well as the select channels and media outlets in which they place their programmatic ads. This can be amplified by additional content marketing through social media and search.

If you’d like assistance with your content strategy and how to best select the right channels in social, search and programmatic, give us a call. We are here 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.

3 STEPS FOR SEO SUCCESS – Winston Burton, SVP, SEO

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!