Jennifer Harney

Shift To Mobile Search

Anticipating upcoming shifts and trends is vital for companies to stay one step ahead, this is especially true when planning a marketing strategy. In 2008 it was predicted that mobile would overtake fixed internet access by 2014 and indeed it did, the shift to mobile search naturally followed.

The shift to mobile search increased year on year and in May 2015 Google announced that more searches were carried out via mobile than on computers in 10 Countries including the US and Japan. However, Google declined to provide any in-depth information on when the shift occurred or stats on mobile vs. computer searches.

So what does this shift to mobile search mean for companies?  It is more likely than ever that a consumer’s first interaction with your website will occur on a mobile so having a website that is clear, easy to use and fast when accessed on a phone is more vital than ever. It is therefore important that you have a mobile optimised website, as a user is unlikely to stay on, or return to your website if their initial experience is bad, in fact only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if they can’t find what they want, it’s too slow or it doesn’t satisfy their needs.

However, it is important to remember that the way people use the internet on their mobiles differs to how they use it on their computers. Searches on mobiles are carried out more frequently throughout the day however, the time spent browsing results and websites is likely to be far shorter. Hence, Google has said the shift to mobile search has created ‘Micro-Moments’. They suggest mobile searches fall broadly under 4 categories: ‘I want to know’, ‘I want to go’, ‘I want to do’ and ‘I want to buy’. In response a business needs to fulfill 4 vital criteria- ‘Be There’, ‘Be useful’, ‘Be Quick’ and ‘Connect the dots’.

Be There

Search for the topics most relevant to your business on your mobile. Do you like what you find? Make sure your ad’s are still relevant to mobile searches and your website is still clear and easy to navigate. Whilst the purchase of goods or services is the ultimate goal it is important to be present for a broader range of consumer needs and curiosities. Mobile searches are more likely to be used for information gathering rather than purchases that doesn’t mean they don’t have value for your business. In fact, 51% of users have discovered a new product or brand when conducting a search and 1 in 3 have purchased from a company other than the one they intended because of the information provided in the moment that was needed.

Be Useful

Users favour websites that contain concise, useful information when searching on a mobile rather than those pushing a sale.  Mobile searches are often made whilst on the move so create customised location specific mobile ads to show you are nearby when they search for a specific product or service. In fact, 61% of mobile users say they are more likely to buy from a company that customises mobile information to their location.

Be Quick

You have less time to make an impression on a mobile user so make your website as fast and user friendly as possible! Eliminate steps: by use one-step functions for sales and sign-in and display click to call buttons. Anticipate needs: Use previous customer behaviour and login data to customise future experiences. Load fast! 40% of shoppers will wait no more than 3 seconds before abandoning a retail site.

Connect the Dots

It’s important to remember that you don’t have mobile, P.C or In-store customers, you just have customers. They may experience your company across any or all of these mediums before they make a purchase decision. It is important that their experiences are positive whichever platform they choose. They may gather information from your website before making a purchase in your store, a poorly designed and slow website may lose you this sale even though it is not completed on your website. All interactions are valuable even if they don’t provide immediate results.

Thomas Coppen

Setting Your PPC Budget & Beware Of Agency Costs

Setting Your PPC Budget

In pay-per-click marketing, as with so many things in life, you have to spend money to make money.
The big question is, how do you figure out what you should spend?

Your monthly is a huge part of your PPC strategy, so whether you’re new to PPC or have been doing it for years, it’s worth taking a step back to figure out if you’re making the most of your ad spend.

The most important consideration for setting your PPC budget is your lead needs. You’ll need to sit down and figure out some characteristics of your leads, such as:

  • Lead Quality
  • Target Cost Per Lead
  • Buying Cycle
  • Visitor Frequency
  • Geographic Location

In terms of using PPC advertising, the monthly PPC budget you decide is crucial when considering the potential ROI of your advertising, which is the entire point!

A monthly PPC budget should never be set lower than £300, otherwise there will be little to no quality traffic.

It may sound promising with very little money being risked but will ultimately result in no return or a return that does not make PPC advertising worthwhile.

The £300 monthly PPC budget is merely a good suggested start up budget, however different industries require different monthly PPC budget amounts.

Industries which involve Software, Corporate Events, Private Equity… or any industry which has a very large contract value and/or high competition for business.

Beware Of PPC Agency Costs

Before choosing a PPC agency to manage your  that you can trust with your money, there are many things that you should be considering.

If a PPC agency quotes you an unrealistically low price for their services, beware!

How transparent are the agencies management fees?
One common practice of low quoting agencies is the use of a combined bill for the Google ad spend and their management fees, this is a major NO NO.Warning1
This indicates that the agency has garnished money from the allocated ad spend PPC budget. This is usually coupled with a limited report that does not show ad spend costs broken down.

Another practice that can result in money sneakily landing in a PPC agency’s pocket is the use of automated tools.

Google has a plethora of automated tools which usually results in ad spend rising fast. (surprisingly Google want you to spend more on Google AdWords… who’d of thought that?)

So these tools are used whilst the PPC agency gains the (not so) well deserved management fee.

Overall, for a PPC agency to provide optimal results the account should be managed daily and transparency should be at the fore front with all your dealings with them.

A reputable PPC agency typically will charge between £400 – £500 for an ad spend up to £1500 per month with London agencies likely to charge more.

Thomas Coppen

Google Ad Layout Changes – What You Need to Know

You may have recently heard about some Google ad layout changes on the search engine results page (SERP). It’s true, Google has removed ads from the right hand side of the results page on desktop, and they now have four, not three, ads showing at the top of the page for what they call “highly commercial queries”. Additionally, three further ads will be shown at the bottom of the page, with the maximum number of ads showing on one results page falling from eleven to seven.

Google have been looking at this for a long time, and have finally made the changes based on the lower click through rate (CTR) that the right hand ads were achieving. Of course, there’s also an argument that if there are four ads at the top of the page, and fewer when you scroll down, then it will inflate the cost per clicks (CPCs) with the rush to the top of the page, but we’ll come to that.

Here we can see the drop off in right hand ads for a major retailer from a great blog by Merkle RKG, with the ad impressions suddenly falling off on the 17th February 2016.

So what do the Google Ad Layout Changes mean for my ads?

First of all, let’s look at the big losers in this: Organic results and SEO. Paid ads are now taking up more of the SERP, and squeezing the organic results listings into fewer numbers. Before, your PPC campaign had to compete against other ads as well as these organic listings, but you now have less competition and more traffic that may click on your ad.

Will this affect my Google Shopping ads?

Not at all. Google will always have an area to the right of the four top ads reserved for Google Shopping ads and the “Knowledge Panel” (Think Wikipedia snippets and social media links). So for now, there’s nothing to worry about!

Are my CPCs going to shoot up?

Not necessarily. First of all, there are four ads at the top of the page now, which makes it 25% easier to show in a prime position. Also, the new top ads have much more space for content than before, which means that if you are utilising your ad extensions properly, a fourth placed ad could be much more attractive to a user than one in first. Just take a look at the SERP above, with positions two, three and four all showing much more content than the expensive position one.

What you need to make sure of is that your campaigns are not set to a bid-to-position strategy, as this could make your click costs increase while other advertisers try and rush to the top of the page. A good PPC agency will still be able to get you to show in these top positions while also keeping your click costs down, with daily bid adjustments and regular account optimisation.

Will users scroll down to see ads at the bottom of the page?

So far, yes. Initial data over the past month saw traffic increasing for the top four ads, but traffic increasing considerably more for the ads under the organic listings.  If you look at the Merkle RKG table below, the traffic that was seen from the right hand ads has just shifted over to the bottom ads. Yes, there are fewer spots to fight for, but Google has refined the number of ads that are showing, with ad relevance now becoming more important than ever to get that all important click.

Google Ad Layout Changes - Stats

So all in all, the Google ad layout changes won’t have the big impact on your results that some users may have feared. If anything, it’s a good time to move towards a more targeted PPC campaign, and stop relying so much on your SEO. Leave any ideas or your thoughts on the AdWords changes in the comments below!