What is happening with PPC technology right now?
Google DoubleClick’s unrivalled development power could see other software tools lose custom. We saw a similar thing with competitive tag management solutions when Google Tag Manager was launched.
“Despite rapid improvements from Marin, DC Storm and Kenshoo, there is a danger they could start to feel the squeeze on their bid management market share as DoubleClick adoption rises.”
Essentially they can’t rival Google’s development pace. It’s so fast that Google themselves have some catching up to do between Adwords and DoubleClick functionality.
That brings me onto my next question, how are people getting the most out of AdWords right now and what challenges does it present?
As AdWords develops and becomes more advanced, optimisation and testing takes longer – slicker automation and segmentation would reduce this time.
AdWords can’t rival DoubleClick in lead source tracking for clients that want to track multiple types of conversion i.e. a newsletter registration, a filled out web entry form and a free trial.
AdWords lumps them all together to calculate the CPA whereas DoubleClick enables you to create customised columns.
DoubleClick can’t yet automatically optimise bids based on remarketing data, so bid adjustments for ads served to users who’ve previously been to the site, still have to be done manually.
Developments around this are in the pipeline though.
“The most prevalent news right now is Google AdWords rolling out upgraded URL’s.”
n short, the separate tracking parameters mean tracking is easier to apply, you can do it in the new tracking column.
However, it’s not yet compatible with DoubleClick Search. Another example of the speed of Google’s tool development, no doubt it will join up soon.
Another effective tracking tool is Infinity, their call tracking means you can track an unlimited number of search keywords.
People are still talking about the customer journey, how can PPC play a role in tracking it?
The ‘fragmented user’ uses several devices and is exposed to dozens of paid media channels. This poses reporting and wider customer ‘journey’ challenges – such as how best to optimise content and establishing what the most successful route to conversion.
Cross device, or the online/offline journey-to-sale tracking, for example is still to be joined up and fully defined.
Google Analytics Premium will go some way to help solve the online journey, but requires investment.
One of the big competitor differentiators it provides is being able to view the cross-device path to conversion so you can bid accordingly, this is useful in understanding how to split your spend, especially with the rise of mobile usage vs. laptop and desktop.
“Retailers who cater to younger demographics are seeing more than 50% of their spend come from mobile.”
PPC requires different KPI’s for mobile vs. desktop, different ads and different messages.
This is because users want to view a mobile site if they’re using a mobile device, so an advert implying that they’ll give them a good user experience is appealing and more likely to win the click.
Also users searching on mobiles tend to have different motivations. For example a mobile user is more likely to be in the information gathering phase of the buyer journey as opposed to buying, we often see a switch to a laptop to make the final purchase.
Savvy advertisers can give information when it’s demanded and serve a site more optimised for conversion when the user feels it’s time to buy. It’s a fine art.
The fact you can amalgamate and attribute data in GA and DoubleClick for Search, means you can effectively use it to increase ROI on ad spend.
This is useful, but imagine if this could be done in real time, I’m hoping that’s next!
What else is due to happen that will affect paid search?
In the eCommerce space, Google seem very keen to develop their shopping offering with their UK price comparison service.
We may start to see more tools within DoubleClick for Search that optimise Product List Ad campaigns.
Google’s purchase of Channel Intelligence (a product feed optimisation tool) also shows they see price comparison as the next battleground. This could extend to Google offering integrated tools that both optimise bids and product feeds, not just within their own systems, but third party comparison shopping sites too.
With Google and DoubleClick for shopping you’ll soon be able to automatically set up a campaign structure to reflect your product and product categories, then DoubleClick will perform automated bid management.
They will be no need to create an ad group structure that reflects the categories of your products; instead DoubleClick will do all of this automatically – based on its own best practice that it can automatically bid manage to.
As a result, retailers could use the same amount of PPC time to yield greater returns and the whole process will become so much quicker, it’s hard to tell but it could halve PPC execution time, essentially doubling the value of PPC in some cases.
It’s not entirely automated yet, it would still require a human eye to look at negative keywords and reviewing the account performance.
Privacy is a common topic.
They’ll always be some who want tools that don’t expose advertiser’s data to Google for fear of them ‘hoarding’ market information.
But Google have a duty to comply with data law and are conscious of their brand reputation.
There are also benefits to their position, such as search term intelligence, that are unrivalled.
Gathering the quantity of user data required to enable informed marketing decisions is a challenge, especially when it comes to data privacy, both legally and ethically.
And tying the same users to multiple devices and then tracking what they do offline currently requires brand engagement to the point of them being logged in, as a result brand engagement is growing increasingly important.
And I’ll leave it there for now!