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Tag: Performance

Improve performance and security with Server-Side Tagging

March 15, 2021 No Comments

To measure the effectiveness of digital campaigns and understand the customer journey, businesses often work with a variety of technology partners. Doing so typically requires businesses to add JavaScript code written by these partners, also known as third-party tags, directly to their websites. But when too many tags load on a site, it can negatively affect the customer experience–and conversion rates. Plus, since third-party tags running directly on a site could have broad access to information entered on that page, it’s important for businesses to have control over what information those tags can access.

To help address these challenges, we’re introducing Server-Side Tagging to Google Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360. You’ll now be able to move many third-party tags off your site and into a new server container hosted in your Google Cloud account. That means when customers interact with a page on your site, third-party tags are loaded directly in the server container rather than the site. This provides you with faster page load times, greater security for your customer data, and additional data controls.

Deliver faster site experiences to your customers

When you move third-party tags off your site, fewer tags must load when your customers visit – leading to faster page load times. A recent research study showed that a decrease in page load times for mobile sites improved progression rates for every step of the purchase funnel for all brands surveyed. In fact, for retail sites every 0.1 second reduction in mobile site speed on average increases average order value by nearly 10 percent.

Consider an ecommerce retailer that works with many technology partners to execute marketing campaigns and measure customer behavior. Whenever this retailer wants to work with a new partner, for example to run email marketing campaigns, it needs to add a new third-party tag to its site to measure success. Instead of doing that, the retailer can now place the new tag into its server container in Tag Manager. And when a customer loads the retailer’s site, this tag will run in the server container after the page loads. This allows businesses to measure the success of their campaign without impacting the customer experience.

Secure your customer data

When customers engage with your business online, they share information with you. You want to ensure that information is safe and only authorized partners are able to access it.

When third-party tags are implemented directly on your site, these tags are able to access and interact with other information customers are entering into your site. With Server-Side Tagging, you place third-party tags in a secure server container in your Google Cloud project. This means tags in your server container only have access to information sent to the server and no longer have access to the information entered on your site. And because these tags are placed into your server container, you gain visibility into what data the tags are collecting and where that information is being sent.

Control the behavior of third-party tags

Tag Manager already allows you to control third-party tag behavior through a sandboxed version of JavaScript, ready-to-go tag templates fromthe Community Template Gallery, and a permissions model for all third-party tags. All of these capabilities continue to be available with Server-Side Tagging.

Each tag that you add to your server container will have to declare how it will behave, for example which cookies can be accessed or where data can be sent. And you can also set policies to automatically control what tags are allowed to do. This helps you ensure that any new tags added to your container follow the same permissions so you do not need to continuously check tag behaviors in the future.

Get started with Server-Side Tagging

Server-Side Tagging is now available to all Tag Manager and Tag Manager 360 accounts. When you log into your Tag Manager account, you can create a new server container and connect it with a new or existing Cloud account. You can learn more about setting up Server-Side Tagging for your business with this guide. And if you don’t have a Tag Manager account, you can create one for free.

Google Analytics Blog

Seven underrated Google Analytics features that boost performance

December 20, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Google Analytics is an important web analytics tool from Google used in digital marketing.
  • Many digital marketers and website owners use it to track and measure the performance of their websites.
  • There are a lot of Google Analytics features that perform different functions. All working towards helping you get the best of your website.
  • However, there are some Google Analytics features that are underrated. Many digital marketers don’t recognize them and what they are capable of doing to improve the performance of their website.
  • This piece will highlight seven of them and how they can be helpful to you.

Google Analytics is a web analytics product from Google that has helped a lot of digital marketers and website owners ascertain the performance of their website. Approximately 29 million websites use it as an analytics tool. A lot of Google Analytics features are only known to a few digital marketers. Many people rush to it to check how page views they got over a period of time or how many conversations they got. To these people, that’s only what this great tool can for them – the basics. But it’s far beyond that.

There are some features it has which can help improve the performance of your website but are underrated.

Are you hearing this for the first time? Don’t worry that’s why I’m here and this piece will discuss seven of them and how they can be helpful to your site.

1. Custom alert

This Google Analytics feature can be located when you log into your report and tap on the ‘customization’ drop-down menu. When set up, you will be alerted through emails when there is a change in your traffic or behavior of your website.

This could be on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. For a beginner who is curious to grow his traffic or conversion, it is simple to keep your eye on it. Another crucial function of a custom alert is to automatically notify you of trends in your data.

This could be tracking and informing you in real-time about the events on your website be it positive or negative. The advantage here is that you can fix any negative development before it becomes obvious. You can follow the screenshot below to set up your custom alert. 

Google Analytics features - Custom alerts

2. Channel groupings

It’s easy to manage the traffic source to your website with channel groupings feature. This feature is on default on your analytics report and it organizes and groups your common source of traffic. 

For instance, you launched an ad campaign on Facebook, and Instagram as social media tactics to grow your small business,  the channels grouping will allow you to compare and analyze the performance of each of the traffic channels.

 For a marketer to want to be more specific with his traffic channel, you can create custom channels grouping and apply it to your report.

 Its effect will be seen in how your data display but won’t change the data itself. To make use of channels grouping on your GA, when you sign in to your report and locate admin at the bottom left. Click on it and you will list of features which channel groupings are one of.

Google Analytics features - Channel groupings

3. Behavior flow

When users visit your website, they move from one page or event to another in an attempt to achieve their desire which may be to get help through your content. It is a visual representation that can help you understand how your audience interacts with your site, the content they enjoy, and the ones that turn them off.

 The behavior flow of your site simply displays the node, the connections to pages on your website, and exit. After consuming your content, do your audiences click on another link to learn more? Or do they bounce because they aren’t satisfied? 

This increases your bounce rate and a clear indication that you need to work on that particular content. Below is a screenshot of the behavior flow from my blog.

Google Analytics features - Behavioral flow

4. Ecommerce tracking

For those who want to start an ecommerce business or those already in the field. Tracking the performance of your ecommerce website is possible with ecommerce tracking feature on GA. 

As a merchant who sells on Shopify or BigCommerce, you’ll want to know where your high-paying customers come from, how they interact with the products you have in your store, and which product converts more.

 With the knowledge of this, you can identify the location of customers that make you smile when you remember the number of sales you have made, the products they like, and things to fix to continue to be ahead of your competitors. 

channel groupings

Below is how to set up ecommerce  tracking on GA

  • Sign in to your report on GA
  • Click on Admin on the bottom left and you will be in a new window
  • Click on ecommerce  settings
  • Enable ecommerce  
  • Enable enhanced ecommerce  reporting and save
  • The final step is to set up your tracking code. Learn how to do it here.

Once your ecommerce site is being tracked on GA, you will gain insight into the following metrics on your dashboard; unique purchases, revenue, quantity, conversion rate, average order revenue, etc.

5. Demographic

Some digital marketers don’t know the importance of analyzing the demography of users who visit their websites.  Age, sex, and interest category of your audience are key metrics that should matter to you. 

You can use them to make decisions that can improve the performance of your website. Take, for instance, you run a small business website on women’s clothing, and your demography metrics show that 80% of your visitors in the last month were male within the age range of 18 and 24.

That’s a red flag that you’re targeting the wrong audience. A female clothing line business should have more female visitors. Also, the age range of 18 and 24 are mostly young people who are either schooling or unemployment. Hence won’t have much money to spend on clothes. Below is how you can locate the demographic metrics in your GA.


6. Site speed report

Speed is one of the key factors Google considers when ranking your website. It even became more obvious with the introduction of Accelerated Mobile Page, AMP. Not paying attention to this one of the SEO mistakes you make. Google Analytics tracks the load time of your web pages.

The aim is to give you reasons to learn how to improve the speed of your website. A web page that loads slowly is a turn off for your audiences. Nobody wants to wait for a long time for a page to load when there are many web pages competing for their attention.

 It can increase the bounce rate of your website or even cost you sales if you sell online. Site speed is an indicator of a healthy site, hence the need to learn how to make it happen.

Google Analytics features - Site speed report

7. UTM parameters

To some digital marketers and small businesses, this might be the first time of hearing this marketing acronym. Don’t be confused, UTM simply stands for Urchin Tracking Modules. They are codes you add at the end of your URL. This is crucial if you run ad campaigns for your business. 

For example, if you run an ad campaign on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn and made a lot of sales, you won’t know which of the social media platforms drove more sales to you. 

The only way to know that is if you add campaign parameters to your URLs which is tracked on GA. For every user who clicked on the URL, the parameter is sent to Google  Analytics. The goal is to identify the platform in which the campaign performed better and intensify your strategy on it to make more sales next time. 

Google Analytics features - UTM parameters

Wrapping up

The performance of your website should be of utmost importance to you as a digital marketer,  small business or someone who earns passive income online. Google Analytics has all it takes to keep your site healthy all the time. 

Google Analytics features factored in all aspects of your website be it blog, ecommerce, or any other kind of website.

Yours is to take your time to identify these features, explore them, make use of them and you will be surprised at how they can keep your website at its best all the time.

Chuks Chukwuemeka is a content creator, blogger, digital marketer, and founder of, an online business blog.

The post Seven underrated Google Analytics features that boost performance appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

Speed and performance of Web dev, SEO, and marketing agencies websites

September 25, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The research shows most agencies failed when it comes to the performance of their website.
  • Search engine ranking is a multi-factor game, and performance, while it matters for many reasons, is just one piece in this puzzle.
  • Nebojsa Radakovic shares insights.

Ever since Google announced that page speed would be a ranking factor in its mobile-first index in 2018, the need for speed became one of the most important aspects of web dev trait. A lot of businesses jumped onto the speed train. 

Sure enough, one year later, Google reported that sites are faster, and abandonment rates are down since making page speed a ranking factor.

With performance being one of the top-selling points of a modern-day web dev architecture Jamstack that we are so into, it was only natural to take a deep dive into the industries that tackle website performance and see how we stand against our peers.

TL;DR: Key findings

Don’t have the time to read through the research? Here are the key findings:

  • 27% of websites from our 20K sample still run on HTTP
  • 65.7% of the websites are built with WordPress
  • Only 2.7% of websites have good performance scores
  • 2.9% of websites provide good user experience to their users, ie Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) occurs within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading

What data was I interested in, and why?

Lighthouse performance metrics. There are a couple of popular speed testing tools, but most people use Lighthouse. While it may not be perfect because it provides a mix of both lab and field data about a page, I’ve used Pagespeed Insights API as described in James McNulty UpBuild post here, although updated to show core web vitals.

CMS. WordPress or not. 37% of all websites are powered by WordPress. Being the most popular web dev solution, it would be interesting to see and compare different solutions in terms of speed and performance.

Where did I get my URLs from?

Gathering URLs is a time-consuming work. But I managed to get 20k URLs (20397 URLs to be exact). I’ve cross-referenced results I got from scraping the first-page organic results of a set of keywords (like SEO agency, web dev agency, etc.), results I got by using tools such as Phantombuster to scrap review websites, and results I got from hiring virtual assistants on Upwork and Fiver.

There are a couple of issues I had to take care of first. Amazingly 27% of websites from my 20K sample still run on HTTP. That’s not good at all. On top of that, I had a bunch of URLs coming up with NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error message in Chrome. Once those were taken care of, I ended up having results 13945 URLs instead of 20K.

The data

Popular CMS- Speed and performance research

Of course, the most popular CMS is WordPress, with 65.7% of websites from my sample using it. For 18.8%, I was not able to detect any CMS. 2.58% run on Squarespace, 1.6% are built with Drupal, 1.41% are on Wix, and so on.

The results should not come as a surprise given that WordPress powers 37% of all the websites on the Internet or 63.6% of all the websites with known CMS.

Performance scores – How scores are color-coded by Google

The metrics scores and the perf score are colored according to these ranges:

  • 0 to 49 (Red): Poor
  • 50 to 89 (Orange): Needs Improvement
  • 90 to 100 (Green): Good

You can read more about it here.

As far as the performance scores for all websites are concerned, 77.1% of the websites are in the poor range, which means there is a lot of room for improvement.

URL performance - Speed and performance research

Pretty much the same story when we check only WordPress websites, 83.9% are in the poor performance range.

Performance WordPress - Speed and performance research

Core Web Vitals

By now, you probably are well aware of Core Web Vitals. Their importance is twofold:

  • Google considers them essential in a webpage’s overall user experience, and understanding them can help you improve the quality of experience you are delivering to your users,
  • Google plans to make a page experience an official Google ranking factor with Core Web Vitals being an essential part of it.

The current set for Core Web Vitals focuses on three aspects of the user experience: loading (described with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric), interactivity (described with First Input Delay (FID) metric), and visual stability (described with Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) metric).

For this research, numbers follow the performance scores. For example, check out the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) results.

Largest-Contentful-Paint-(LCP): Speed and performance analysis


Being that I’ve tested only 20k URLs (actually 13945), let’s not generalize conclusions. However, the general ‘feel’ is that the ones required to think of speed and performance failed the test.

Performance, while it matters for many reasons, is not and should not be the end goal. It depends not only on the tech used but also ‘features’ you’ll have on a website, which pretty much depends on the industry/theme your website is in. And balancing performance and functionality successfully depends on the value a feature brings to your business versus the reduction in speed that results.

The thing is, whatever tech you use, you can end up with good scores (some easier than others). The real question is, how important are the scores for your client, their business, and their audience?

Nebojsa Radakovic is an SEO wiz with 20 years of experience. He is also an extreme sports enthusiast. He can be found on Twitter @CookieDuster_N.

The post Speed and performance of Web dev, SEO, and marketing agencies websites appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

How AI can supercharge performance marketing

August 14, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Performance marketing is growing strong and the idea of thinking of the future along with emerging technologies that can supercharge your campaigns sounds exciting.
  • The applied use of AI in marketing is a common challenge for many brands. As consumer behaviors are changing and new technologies emerge, it’s critical for marketers to explore the different benefits of integrating AI into their marketing strategies.
  • AI can transform performance marketing by making the most of all available data. The ability to collect and analyze data in a centralized way can help you focus on the bigger picture.
  • Website intelligence based on AI can be the key to your success in all areas of marketing. Data can be extremely valuable from planning your upcoming campaigns to adjusting your budget and learning more about your target audience.
  • You can also use predictive modeling with your ad campaigns to make the most of AI in optimization and campaign efficiency.
  • Using AI to organize and analyze your incoming leads can help you save time but also improve your efficiency. It can help marketers make a case for the number of leads that they generated even in real-time.

The world is changing and it’s crucial to adapt our marketing strategies to remain successful.

2020 has already affected us in one way or another, whether it’s about updating our marketing campaigns, adjusting the ad spend, or shifting the focus on new digital channels. However, it’s not enough if you don’t plan ahead to future proof your strategy.

Performance marketing is growing strong and the idea of thinking of the future along with emerging technologies that can supercharge your campaigns sounds exciting.

Machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, voice assistants, personalization are among the trends that are already shaping our strategies. The challenge is about understanding their potential now to increase the investment when planning ahead.

For example, the use of AI in performance marketing can be very promising. Many companies are already successfully integrating it into their strategy.

If you’re still cautious about it, check out this new white paper by SherloQ™, Inc., which provides some examples of how to integrate AI into your marketing mix.

Content created in partnership with SherloQ™, Inc.

How AI can benefit your marketing plans

The applied use of AI in marketing is a common challenge for many brands. As consumer behaviors are changing and new technologies emerge, it’s critical for marketers to explore the different benefits of integrating AI into their marketing strategies.

Making data-driven decisions

AI can transform performance marketing by making the most of all available data. The ability to collect and analyze data in a centralized way can help you focus on the bigger picture.

It can also help you make better decisions at a more practical level.

For example, lead generation and qualification can be time-consuming. The ability to integrate all your leads both from your website and ad campaigns can be a game-changer.

SherloQ™, powered by IBM Watson, makes the aggregation of data easier in real-time.

Human involvement is still crucial, of course, by rating categorizing the leads based on your criteria, you can train your data further. However, you are still able to save time and keep all your leads in one place to make your process easier.

Gaining valuable insights

Website intelligence based on AI can be the key to your success in all areas of marketing. Data can be extremely valuable from planning your upcoming campaigns to adjusting your budget and learning more about your target audience.

For example, the option to analyze all transcripts, calls, and keywords in real-time can help you improve your communication and use the learnings to form your next campaigns, website changes, or even content planning.

SherloQ™ is making the process easier by aggregating, storing, and processing your data in real-time while the Intelligence Report can help you uncover all the opportunities for your business.

Using machine learning to personalize the experience

ML can be very powerful both for marketing and sales. The ability to learn from your process to automate key tasks can be valuable especially when there is time pressure and you need to focus on many tasks at once.

Moreover, personalization can help you improve your customer experience to maintain successful engagement both with existing and new customers.

You can also use predictive modeling with your ad campaigns to make the most of AI in optimization and campaign efficiency.

SherloQ™ can also help you with the real-time ranking of your leads to make sure that you don’t miss any opportunities.

How AI can improve your pipeline 

Lead generation and qualification are all about seizing every single opportunity that comes your way. You don’t want to lose a potentially big deal simply because you lost it among all other leads.

Using AI to organize and analyze your incoming leads can help you save time but also improve your efficiency. It can help marketers make a case for the number of leads that they generated even in real-time.

The wealth of insights can also help you plan your next campaigns. For example, SherloQ™ allows you to connect every lead with the keywords and the ads that they converted on. It can make performance marketing easier while making the attribution more comprehensive.

Automotive dealers have asked SherloQ™ how to increase their car sales. The complicated consumer journey was making it hard for them to know how their performance marketing efforts are translated into sales.

Thus, they’ve used SherloQ™ to aggregate their data from phone calls, chats, emails, and organic and paid marketing. A closer look at the data led to the conclusion that most leads were converting through organic emails and organic chats via social media, yet the dollars were being allocated toward paid search instead.

Having a better idea of where your leads are coming from and what keywords they are using to land on your website can be extremely helpful.

The ability to use AI to organize all the data and rate the leads can help you make better decisions in the planning of your marketing campaigns and budget.

To find out more about how to improve your marketing with AI, read SherloQ™’s whitepaper on performance marketing and AI here.

The post How AI can supercharge performance marketing appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

How Data Science Can Improve PPC Performance

May 22, 2020 No Comments

This will look at the concept of data science, the tools and knowledge you need to make it work, some common PPC issues, and how data science can help fix them.

PPC Hero

When Surprisingly Good Performance Leads To Tough Questions About The Value Of PPC

May 19, 2020 No Comments

Many brands are seeing strong year over year growth and in some cases with a conservative PPC strategy. Why is this and what does it mean for future strategies?

PPC Hero

Accounting for Future Performance in Paid Media

April 29, 2020 No Comments

Changing circumstances can force you to confront the future. Planning ahead is essential and can better prepare you for what comes next.

PPC Hero

Nine tactics to improve your PPC campaign performance in 2020

April 1, 2020 No Comments

Over the past few years, PPC or Pay-per-click advertising has turned out to be a promising online advertising solution for businesses of all types. 

In the digital era, this type of advertising has a significant impact on the success of an online business. Not only PPC ads improve your brand awareness, but they also boost sales. Even Google confirms that search ads can raise brand awareness by 80%.

If you’re responsible for the success of PPC campaigns with an organization, but not getting enough out of this advertising platform, this post is for you. 

We will be sharing a few fantastic tips that will significantly improve the performance of your campaign, but before that, let’s have a quick look at what precisely a PPC is. If you already know, you can skip this section. 

Unlike most online advertising platforms, PPC is known to provide better control over your advertising costs as it enables you to analyze your ad performance in real-time.

Nine tactics to supercharge your PPC campaign performance

1. Have a well-defined goal

Until you have a clear and measurable goal, you can’t optimize your PPC campaign appropriately. Remember, your goal is the baseline of your optimization process. If you don’t have a proper road map to follow, you won’t reach anywhere. First of all, you need to determine what you want to achieve from your paid search ads. Depending on your business needs, your goal could be:

  • Getting traffic to your website
  • Improving sales
  • Getting subscribers or downloads


Always set clear and realistic goals. They should inspire your entire team to work toward the accomplishment of your company’s goals.


2. Use the high-performance keyword

In any PPC campaign, it is crucial to choose the right keywords. Although Google provides you with a tool to create a keyword list based on your website analysis, to ensure the success of your campaign, you must choose the keywords that have a high CTR.

Check the performance of keywords before including them into your ad copy. Choose the ones with supreme performance.

If your audience resides in a different geographical location, it is advisable to use a VPN service to find out which keywords are ranking on their territory. A VPN can help you adopt an IP address of a specific location and surf the internet like a local. Though there are plenty of VPN options available, choose it wisely as not all are the same in terms of quality. You may read the Kodi review if you want to invest in an affordable VPN service.

3. Optimize the quality of keyword (keyword score)

One of the primary reasons most PPC campaigns don’t get the desired One of the primary reasons most PPC campaigns don’t get the desired results is, they have too many keywords. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, an average PPC campaign produces all of its sales from only 12% of its keywords. So, avoid keyword overloading. Instead, your aim should be improving the keyword quality score. Three of the primary factors that determine the quality of your keywords include:

  • The relevancy of your keywords to your ad copy
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Landing page experience

Here are some tips to improve the quality score of your keywords

  • First of all, check out whether or not your ad copy is properly lined up with the search objective of your keyword. You should focus on creating headlines that are relevant and can hit the pain points of your target audience.
  • Figure out the number of clicks your selected keywords receive. Keywords with high CTR will help you generate traffic, which can improve your conversion rates.
  • You can use DTR (Dynamic text replacement) feature to match your ad’s keyword with the content of your landing page. It will help you show personalized content to your audience for each ad.

4. Create a list of negative keywords

Negative keywords can save your campaign budget to a large extent as it prevents your ads from being triggered by inappropriate searches. These keywords help you avoid undesired traffic hitting your bank. For instance, if you deal with iPhone only, but your ads are being displayed to iPod, iWatch, and more that you can add those keywords into your negative keyword list.

5. Write engaging ad copy

Ad copy plays a significant role in determining the success of your campaign. So, put all your efforts into making engaging ads. 

Check out some quick tips to write outstanding PPC ads:

  • Since you’re restricted with a character limit, you need to write convincing ad copy while staying in the character limit. Your ad copy should clearly state about your USP and why people should choose you over your competitors
  • Try to be as relevant as possible. As mentioned above, line up all your ads with their respective landing pages and keywords
  • Create attention-grabbing headlines
  • Don’t forget to add a compelling call-to-action
  • Consider using power words such as Instant, Hurry, Exclusive, Free, Today Only, and more

6. Utilize remarketing

A high bounce rate is a common scene in PPC marketing. Well, remarketing is an ideal way to capture those missed opportunities. You can use it re-capture the attention of prospects who are still in the awareness phase. Remarketing enables you to show targeted ads to users who have already viewed your products or services. There are plenty of ways you can boost the performance of remarketing to increase your conversion rates and return on investment. For example, you can try out different lead magnets, work with famous influencers in your specific niche, and more. 

7. Use ad extensions

Add extensions are an ideal way to disclose extra information about your product or service. There are two types of ad extensions: 1. Manual Ad extension and 2. Automatic Ad extension

A manual ad extension is a customizable extension that further has many extension types such as site link, location, call, review, call out, etc. On the other hand, automatic ad extension works automatically. Similar to manual ad extension, it also has several types such as customer rating, the previous visit, dynamic site link, and more.

8. Optimize your campaigns for mobile users

Today, when around 45.12% of the global population uses a smartphone, you can’t neglect mobile users when creating your PPC campaign. Make sure your landing pages are mobile-friendly so that you can get the maximum benefit out of your campaign. Give more attention to short-tail keywords as mobile users do not prefer to type in long search queries. You should also look for ways to reduce typing.

9. Keep track of your PPC campaign

To ensure the success of your campaign, you need to monitor it regularly. Some new marketers don’t spend adequate time to trace their campaign, which is another primary reason some PPC campaigns fail. 

Don’t overlook the importance of constant monitoring as it will help you gain valuable insights into the performance of your campaign. If you’re using Google Ads, Google analytics should be a convenient tool for you. 

However, if you want to improve its efficiency, you can invest in an automation solution that is capable of offering closed-loop reporting. If you can automate your Google Ads reporting, you can quickly find out crucial information that you can use to create robust marketing strategies and enhance the performance of the PPC campaign. 

No matter what the shape and size of your business is, PPC advertising can help you gain higher visibility on search engines and boost conversion. However, to ensure your campaign is working as per the plan, you need to follow specific steps. In this post, we made you familiar with expert tips that will surely take your marketing campaign to the next level. 

Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

Roman Daneghyan is a social media marketing, content marketing, link building, and SEO specialist. He has been featured on Forbes, CrazyEgg, and Upwork. Roman can be found on Twitter @roman_daneghyan.

The post Nine tactics to improve your PPC campaign performance in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

A look at performance post Google’s average position sunset: Top vs side

February 27, 2020 No Comments

Average position as a metric has been retired since the end of September. This is a big change since for years clients, agencies, and any advertiser has always had at least a little bit of vanity management. By that I mean, everyone at some point submitted a bid with the sole goal of being “number one” and not any actual business metric.

This change was implemented to acknowledge that the average position is not meaningful when you are in a world of personalized search. Stopping vanity bidding is just a beneficial side effect. I wanted to take a look at some data, specifically CPC and CTR, to see how performance varies for top and side positions. I also wanted to look at how these metrics vary on vs. Search partners. What I found were some very interesting insights that might impact how you think about your campaigns.

When it comes to the differences between Google and it’s partners and top vs. other the keys are:

  • Google top vs. other has the biggest differences when it comes to CTR. The data showed a >900% increase in CTR across desktop, mobile, and tablet. This was the highest delta across the entire data set, expect for Partner top vs. other which was nearly 4x the difference.
  • Mobile for Google vs. the Partners was also a significant difference at 918%. This was noticeable because the desktop variance was only 30% (basically a tie). The importance of mobile can’t be understated.

CTR differences after average position sunset

When it comes to cost per click differences the variances were really noticeable when it comes to cost per click. The drop off between Google and partners was at least 100% and as high as 268%. The differences are driven primarily by demand. Many advertisers do not participate in the partner network. Therefore, demand is down and the cost per click would fall as well. This is where if the conversion rates are right you would be able to pick up some additional scale. The difference when looking at Google and Partners top vs. other is a much smaller delta. This just highlights the demand point above. The difference in mobile was only 13%. There are such a high demand and fewer spaces for mobile that the difference between top and side was the smallest of any data set that was reviewed.

CPC differences after average position sunset

While the CPCs weren’t that different the CTRs for Google mobile top were significantly higher than the search partners top. I thought this was worth showing the actual data to show the differences between mobile and desktop. The drop in mobile top is very high indicating a different search experience and relevance. The differences are very small and much lower CTR when looking at the “Other” positions.

CTR actuals at other positions after average position sunset

What action should you take based on this data?

1. Don’t manage to these metrics – Optimize them

Ultimately, you shouldn’t really care what the CPC is or what your CTR is. The goal is hitting your KPIs. If you need to pay $ 100 per click, but convert 100% of the clicks then it’s no different than paying $ 20 per click and a 20% conversion rate. That’s not to say you shouldn’t optimize to improve, you should. I’m just suggesting that metrics like top vs. side CTR are simply indicators on how you can improve. These are not your true KPIs.

2. Understand the value the search partner network brings your campaign

The search network provides scale to your campaigns and to Google for a revenue stream. That doesn’t mean in every case you need or require that scale. If you are struggling to perform break down your traffic by Google and the partner network. Look at not only CTR and CPC data, but also understand conversion rates. What would happen if you cut off the search partner network to both your volume and your cost per acquisition? Does this additional scale provide your business value or would it be better spent investing in other areas that perform better? This isn’t a one size fits all answer. You need to do the work and the result might be different by campaign or even keyword.

Note: The stats and observations shared by the author have been derived from BrandMuscle’s anonymized client data.
Feel free to share your observations in the comments section.

The post A look at performance post Google’s average position sunset: Top vs side appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Six key content performance aspects that Google Analytics can’t measure

December 5, 2019 No Comments

Google Analytics (GA) is one of the most popular traffic analytics tools for websites, but it can have serious drawbacks for anyone looking to measure content performance.

The problem is systemic: Analytics was built to track traffic for ecommerce and content sites, with the structure of its reports built around pageviews. It can provide some sophisticated data around those views – what kinds of audience members are behind them, how they might have arrived, what they did next, and other such questions – but today’s content marketers need the ability to measure and understand much more than that.

How do people interact with your content when they’re viewing an individual landing page? How do they feel about your brand after having been exposed to it on other media channels? Where are they running into conversion roadblocks? What are the content assets across touchpoints that people are consuming most on their paths to conversion? What assets are most compelling to your most qualified individual leads?

GA can hint at some of the answers to these types of questions, but to truly understand these aspects of your content marketing performance, you’ll need to turn elsewhere.

Here are a few of the biggest ways that Google Analytics can’t measure your content performance properly, along with some tips for overcoming these shortcomings.

1. On-page behavior

Google Analytics only tracks page views and movement within your site. Unless you manually add layers of event tracking, it can’t reveal what people do within specific pages. You’ll never know if visitors get two lines into your content and then get distracted by an interesting link.

This is the value of heatmaps, which are remarkably effective at showing user behavior. They map out which areas of the page get the most view time and the most clicks, and where the mouse rests.

A heatmap shows areas that get the most attention in red, shading to blue for those that get the least. It reveals whether the visitor engaged and interacted with the page, or left it open and unread for hours. With a heatmap, you can discover the most popular parts of your pages, the navigation links people click on most, and whether key elements below the fold are going unseen.

To get started experimenting with heatmaps, you can try using Hotjar, Lucky Orange or CrazyEgg.

2. Brand sentiment lift

Google Analytics is limited to tracking page views on your own website. It can’t tell you anything about the impact of your content on earned or shared media channels, where you don’t have the ability to install its tracking pixel. And even if you could use it track content views on all channels, you still wouldn’t know much about the impact that the content has on brand sentiment, or your share of voice in the general market.

Instead, use a social listening tool to track what people think about your brand. Social listening tools track social media shares, comments, reactions and mentions. This information has many key use cases, one of which is gaining a holistic view of brand sentiment.

The better platforms track far more than the number of brand mentions on social media, using semantic text analysis to reveal the emotions behind the posts and comparing these signals to those of your competitors. Merge these trends with your timeline of content marketing achievements, and correlations will start to emerge.

To get started experimenting with social listening for brand sentiment tracking, you can try using Awario, Mention or Talkwalker.

3. Friction points on forms

If a visitor tries to complete an online form and gives up in frustration, Google Analytics will never let you know. The best it can do is to show you how much time all visitors spent on the page. (Even this information can be extremely misleading since GA measures page view durations starting from the moment given page loads to the moment the next internal page loads. If your visitor stays for 10 minutes, reads your article from top to bottom, shares it, and then closes the tab without browsing any further within your site, GA will register ‘zero’ time on page.)

When it comes to lead capture forms, contact forms, and sales checkout forms, it can be hard to tell how many fields you’re best off including. The fewer fields your forms have, the lesser friction people will have opting in, which makes for more conversions.

On the other hand, the more fields you include, the more data you’ll have to work with when people do complete and submit forms, which is useful for identifying personas when executing segmented nurture sequences. You’ll also learn more about your audience, and you’ll be in the best possible position for determining the relevance of your leads. And there’s something to be said for asking a lot of your audience, as it helps to filter out people who are “just curious” about your lead magnet and will never actually do business with you.

To really understand the extent to which form fields are serving as roadblocks on the path to conversion, turn to your form builder tool’s analytics. The better platforms will reveal partial submissions, and how far a user gets through a form before abandoning it, so you can see if any single field is too long or question too confusing.

To get started experimenting with form conversion optimization, I recommend Formstack, Formismo or Jotform.

4. The identity of every visitor

One of GA’s biggest weaknesses is its inability to give context to visitor behavior. It can’t show you much about the identity of your visitors – at best, you can segment data about your entire pool of visitors according to their physical locations, devices, referrers, rough demographics and points of entry to your site.

What’s more, Google Analytics only uses a sample of your visitors, so that even if you tinker with your report settings to reveal the IP addresses of individual sessions, you can’t rely on this information as a comprehensive source of individual user insights.

Instead of GA, use audience intelligence tools that provide information about the interests, behavior, personal data (in a GDPR-compliant manner, of course.) and historic activity of every user, so that you can gain a deeper understanding of your visitors. This allows you to fine-tune your content to appeal to your audience, and it also reveals opportunities for account-based marketing.

To get started with audience intelligence, try Albacross, LinkedIn Website Demographics or Visitor Queue.

5. Funnel analytics

It is possible to use Google Analytics to track users through your funnel and measure its effectiveness. However, setting this all up can be highly complicated. You have to build a confusing series of filters and a dedicated URL structure that allows GA to correlate content pages with each stage of the funnel.

It’s much better to use a single tool that follows users through your funnel. Pick one that logs abandonment points and the cumulative impact of your various key funnel touchpoints. You’ll also need a good way to track the activity of returning visitors, which is another weak point for GA, thanks to uncertainty about cookies, lack of reliability when tracking visitors across devices, and the aforementioned notorious data sampling issue.

And if you integrate a funnel analytics tool with your CRM, logging each lead’s engagement activity on your website, you’ll be in great shape to set up a smart lead scoring system for identifying sales-readiness levels.

To get started with funnel analytics, check out Kissmetrics, Woopra or Yandex Metrica.

6. Off-site interactions

Google Analytics only measures interactions with the content on your own site. It’s not something you can use to measure the impact of content on shared, paid or earned media. So that guest post you recently published on someone else’s blog, or your LinkedIn Publisher articles, for example, will be blind spots for you.

GA can show you information about some of the visits you acquired via clickthroughs from these media presences, but that’s about it.

You’ll get better results from a multi-channel dashboard tool that pulls together user analytics from all channels, including email marketing, advertising tools, and social media. This type of solution can’t show you how people found your content on these properties, nor where they went next if they didn’t end up on your website, but it will help you consolidate all your metrics into one centralized dashboard for a more holistic analysis.

What’s more, if you combine data relating to engagement on all touchpoints into one timeline, you’ll start to see correlations between spikes on certain channels and website conversions, which can point you in the right direction for further drill-downs

To get started with multi-channel dashboards, try Klipfolio, Databox or Geckoboard.

Google Analytics isn’t a magic button

Google Analytics is hugely popular, but it can’t do everything, especially if you’re concerned about content performance. Fortunately, there are other tools that fill the gaps GA leaves behind, giving you a much clearer understanding of your content marketing success.

The post Six key content performance aspects that Google Analytics can’t measure appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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