I wrote a blog post for ChannelAdvisor, Germany´s biggest expert in digital channel management for ecommerce. It´s about ePrivacy and the new cookie policies, in German. Enjoy the read!
Der viel gefürchteten ePrivacy Bestimmung des europäischen Gerichtshofs, deren Start für Dezember 2019 angedacht war, konnten wir erst einmal entkommen. Die EU Staaten konnten sich zu selbst grundlegenden Fragen nicht einigen.
In my opinion the beauty of digital marketing is that we are able to target our audience very specifically: once we have found the best paths to buyers, we can hit them again and again. And that´s the issue with opting in on the search network partners (SNP) and the display network: we do not know the path and we can´t conciously seek it out or optimize it.
Let´s break down the two networks, because our reasons for the opt-out differ (let me surprise you at the end about Display, hey hey!) and let´s assume that our campaigns were already running and we have some nice amount of data collected.
Search Network partners
The first thing I would take a look at, is the cost per conversion. Is it competitive to the CPA of the rest of my campaign?
Here you can see this:
by Network (with search partners)
ét voilá, you can see now the different networks under each campaign!
This works also on all the other levels like ad groups and ads, but since you can only opt-out on campaign level, we would look at the campaigns over all.
You can switch SNP off at:
choose the right campaign
Search Network Partners – untick the box
…and gone is the gold digger!
SNP and Display for Youtube Campaigns
At a Youtube Campaign you can segment by Display Network, YT Search and YT Videos. To decide if you want to opt-out or not, you can of course take a look at the number of conversions. But because it can be difficult to generate hard conversions, like sales, with Youtube campaigns, you´ll have to take a look at your soft conversions such as ‘time on site’ etc.
And if you didn´t set those up (at tools & settings -> conversions), check out these Analytics collums in combination with the network segmentation to make a qualified decision:
Switching off the Display opt-in
Ok, so here is the surprise I was baiting you with in my intro: there is no good reason to ever keep the Display opt-in in your search campaign! None. Because we just can´t direct where they are going to show.
Even if you have tons of budget left over every day, I would still always want control over the targeting options, so I can copy and paste them whenever I want to scale. So if you have the luxury of way too much budget left over, just set up a seperate Display campaign with different targeting options in differnt adgroups to see what works best.
Did you ever see one of those text ads squeezed into a banner ad? Remember how ugly they are? What did you think of the company the ad was from? Do you get my point?
Just switch it off.
Also good to know:
Both networks can be responsible for a very low CTR (like under 2% would make me really worry). Of course: the Display network naturally has a way lower CTR because people are not actively looking for something that you offer, you just randomly walking around hollering and offering them.
To take a look if this is case, segment the networks on campaign level again. If the average CTR of your Search Network is around 5% or higher, you’re doing good.
Again, I hope this helps you save a lot of money, so that maybe one day you are so rich that you just simply fly me in to consult you personally about your Google Ads or Youtube campaigns. Until then, please keep reading and commenting.
If you think that Google Ads is a complex system and wonder how (in the world!) a business owner, who runs his own ads, is supposed to keep track of all the features and updates, I have to nod my head in agreement.
It´s like a never ending baboshka effect.
But I can give you more than just some kind words of encouragement (“When you do set it up right, it´s a magnificent lead generator!”), instead let´s talk in this series about the loopholes that probably waste a lot of your budget! First, let´s start with the easiest of them all:
You are absolutely sure that you chose the right locations when you created the campaign. And yet, when checking the user location report, you discover clicks from a mix of countries wilder than the Olympics. The reason is a loophole which Google hid so well, that many agencies I work with even get these settings wrong.
OPTION 1 : People in, or who show interest, in your targeted locations
Let´s imagine you offer a whiskey tasting seminar and you are targeting people within a 40km radius, but you don´t want to exclude anybody who is planing a vacation and therefore has researched events in your area. In this case, this is the winner.
OPTION 2 : People in, or regularly in, your targeted locations
For most businesses this is the right setting: you deliberately chose the targeted locations and that´s exactly where you want the people to be, simple as that!
OPTION 3 : People searching for your targeted locations
Typically used for anything related to tourism and job searches.
Youtube is the only network that doesn´t have location options and can only target people in their physical location.
Still wondering where you can find the user location report? Are you sure you want to see the full extent of the tragedy? Well, you asked for it:
Click on Geographic Report
User location report
And because we all love saving money, you will be jumping over the moon for part 2, when we elaborate on if or when to switch off the Search Network Partners and the Display Opt-in.
Now you are really just left with the question: what to do with all this money you are saving thanks to my blog? ; )
This is the golden era of Youtube Advertising: views and consequently clicks are cheap, but the attention of audiences throughout all demographics is already there. YouTube reaches more than 1 Billion viewers worldwide. Check out this quick survival guide for video ads, if you are a pro, go right away down to the “Pro Tipps”.
Especially for branding purposes Youtube is king. Just like Display, it let´s us match our targeting to the content (placements, topics etc.) or to the person who´s watching (audience targeting).
Let´s focus on the 2 most important ad formats for now:
In-stream and Discovery Ads
In-stream Ads Are videos which are shown to you before, in the middle or after the original video you have intended to watch.
The viewer can skip them after 5 seconds and the advertiser pays only after a watch time of 30 seconds. All aborted video views before that are free, except for if the advertised video is shorter than 30 seconds, in this case it has to be fully watched to be charged.
It´s important to quickly catch the attention of the viewer like a slippery fish, before the 5 seconds are over, through making the purpose and benefit of the video clear right away, otherwise he will keep on swimming in the Youtube sea.
Discovery Ads Can appear in searches on Youtube, the start screen and in recommendations. The viewer has to actively click on the ad and will be directed to your channel.
Bidding strategies Most common are CPV (Cost per view) and CPM (Cost per Mille = Thousand impressions) While in the European markets a CPV of 1- 10 cents is normal, in the US we can pay up to 30 cents per view. CPMs between 0,50€ and 5€, depending on the targeting and location can be expected.
View rate This is your best indicator if you are targeting the right group, because if the view rate is very low, either the beginning of the video is not captivating enough or you are targeting an audience that is not interested in your service/product/content.
About the video Length: between 30-90 seconds is ideal for an ad video, but it can also be longer. The beginning should make clear what the ad is about and has to be captivating, since we only have 5 seconds to spark attention. Ad a clear CTA in the end – what do you expect people to do? E.g. subscribe to the channel, book now, etc.. You can and should also ad a call-to-action button, otherwise there are not many possibilities for them to end up where you want.
Remarketing You can either remarket your website visitors with a video on Youtube or connect your Youtube Channel to your Google Ads Account and run remarketing to people who have watched (another video of) your channel.
Every video has to be uploaded on Youtube, but content makers be aware: the constant skipping of ads will hurt your watch time stats, if you want to grow your channel with Youtube advertising, you have to upload the ad video as unlisted.
Also, the review process from Google´s side takes longer for Video ads than for Search or Display ads, count on at least 1-2 days for the video to be running after your have created the campaign.
The smaller the audience, the more expensive the CPV because it´s more difficult for Youtube to squeeze it into the right audience or content.
Once your campaign is running, you can´t change the bidding strategy, because the campaign goal (at set up) is directly connected to it.
Last but not least, the most important thing:
Ideally chose 3 impressions per day per viewer per campaign. After a couple of weeks it´s advisable to change the creative (video) to prevent ad fatigue.
Here is a very simple overview of the Google Ads Search system. This
is literally just a simplification of a complex world. So let´s start at
the very beginning…
With Google Search ads, we are bidding for keywords at a virtual real-time auction. The winners are displayed with their ad above the organic searches on www.google.com.
Their position in the auction is determined by
relevance of the ad x cost per click bid on the keyword. So it´s not
enough to just bid high, the relevance of the keyword to ad text and
landing page play a significant role and is measured with the quality
score. The higher your quality score, the lower the click price.
Clicks and Impressions Only if the searcher
clicks on the ad, we get charged for that click, impressions are free.
The CTR (click through rate) gives us a good hint of how relevant our ad
is to our audience by displaying the ratio of how often your ad was
shown and out of those times how many percent clicked on it, we should
aim at least to 5%.
Landing page The landing page is where the client
ends up when clicking on the ad. They can be regular parts of your
homepage or specifically created for the ads. It´s always good to give
the consumer a choice, the landing page can be for example a product
Keywords The keywords can be added in different match types: broad match, broad match modified, phrase match and exact match. This considers the fact that not everybody would type their inquiry in the same way and the match type determines how strict or exact the search term has to fit your keyword.
Keywords and search term are the same thing, the two names only
consider the point of view we are taking: search term is what the person
searching types in on google.com, keyword is what we are bidding on in
the ads system.
When starting a new campaign or even account, keyword match types are
usually chosen to be more open. Step by step the sorting out process
consists of including the search terms that fit well to your business
and excluding the ones that don´t. It´s important to add those as
negative search terms, so next time they won´t fire and spend your
You can start with more specific keywords in a big market where there
are many searches, but for niches you would need too much time to
collect enough data, which we need to do the real optimization over
Ad Copy We should always rotate at least 3 ads in
an adgroup, which let´s us constantly test them. We have 3 titles, of
which 2 are always visible. It´s clever to include the keywords,
features, benefits and unique selling points in the title. Descriptions
can be a combination of these too, with a call to action. What do you
expect people to after clicking the ad? Shop online now, contact us now
and so on.
Settings Google ads are so efficient, because you can target your audience very specifically, you can set:
where your ads should be displayed (Location targeting),
you can different click prices for different keywords (max. CPC = cost per click)
at what time (ad schedule)
device (mobile, desktop or tablet)
specific audiences with interests, affinities…and more!
The structure Account -> Campaign -> Adgroups -> Ads
So one account can have many different campaigns (level of targeting a location and the daily budget)
in which you´d have different adgroups (level of targeting a landing page)
that have a group of keywords (level to set a max. cpc bid)
trigger a specific group of ads. I would recommend 3-10 keywords per ad
group, with more you can´t do justice to a good relevance.
Conversion Tracking To measure the success of
your ads on your website, you have to determine what valuable action the
client is supposed to perform on your website. For example filling out a
lead form or making an order. This action, which we call a conversion,
then is being tracked and the data imported into the Google Ads account.
So the real optimization of an account is always based on conversions,
they tell us which keyword, ad or even target group converts the best.
Pay per Click vs. Smart Bidding You can also let
the algorythm of Google do the optimization work, if you are tracking
conversions and the number is significant (I wouldn´t recommend below 20
conversions per month), which we call smart bidding. You tell the
system how much you want to spend daily or how much you are ready to pay
for e.g. a lead and machine learning will idealy bring you the results.
The daily spend can be higher, but Google will even it out by lowering
the spend on the next days, so that the average spend will be what you