Is your search campaign taking advantage of Google Call Extensions?

Call Tracking

Local companies are a good example of advertisers whose paid search goals include receiving phone calls. A recent study showed that 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results.

Often there is no comparison to talking to a live person. This can be the case when a prospect is searching for a business in the service industry, as well as other verticals like travel, auto, finance, etc. The days of simply including the advertiser’s phone number within Google paid search ad text may be gone but call extensions enable an advertiser to still have a phone number appear with their ad.

Google AdWords Call Extensions are an ad extension format that allows searchers to call a business directly from the paid search ad. There are several ways to configure call extensions depending on your needs, as well as some challenges in navigating Google’s reporting of their results.

Using call extensions, your number can show on desktop searches as well as mobile searches in the form of a clickable button. This can be customized to show only on mobile devices. The cost is the same as a regular ad click, you can use your own actual number, or a Google forwarding number.

With the forwarding number, you can view call insights which include call time, duration and area code.

As with all ad extensions, which also include location, seller ratings, reviews and site links, Google uses several factors to determine whether and how they will show. These include ad position, rank, keyword quality score and max bid. If you have several ad extensions enabled there is a chance not all of them will be shown.

When it comes to reporting results, AdWords offers call details if using a Google forwarding number, as well as many data views which offer great information but also can cause some confusion. Google has made some changes to call extensions over the past weeks which improve how results are viewed from within the AdWords interface. For example, call conversions are now tallied into the total of regular ad click conversions, instead of being shown separately in a call conversions column.  Additionally there is a ‘phone call conversions’ column that displays only phone calls longer than a user-specified minimum duration. Another view under ad extensions differentiates clicks to call from call conversions, which offers insight to calls where the user may have clicked to call but chose to not to go through with placing the call when their mobile device’s dialog box appeared. The conversions view under the ‘Tools’ menu in AdWords also shows the conversion data broken out by ad clicks and phone calls. So when tracking phone calls, Google offers a lot of reporting insight but requires some digging to see the full picture.

extensions

Google AdWords Call Extensions offer a valuable extension to your paid search efforts which allow searchers to reach an advertiser and convert by phone from search ads. Local and other businesses that value leads in the form of phone calls which are already using Google paid search, can add value to their existing efforts by using call extensions.

3 Interesting SEO Poll Questions and 3 Takeaways for Marketers

Not everybody does things the same way.  Some people walk down the stairs into a pool while others dive right in.  Most people know that for a building to be built you need to start with a blueprint, but do they know all of the steps in between that take it from a blueprint to a finished product?  The point is we go about even the simplest things in different ways and we see things happening in front of us all of the time without fully understanding what else goes into it.
How we search for things online and why we see what we see in Google is no different.

Google Search & SEO

A recent SEO and Search Marketing study asked consumers about their online search habits and what drives them to click where they click.  We have highlighted 3 questions that we found most interesting and have the potential to impact your marketing efforts.

1. People were asked for possible ranking factors consumers believed most likely to affect organic search results.

  • 56% said relevancy
  • 49% said popularity
  • 33% said click through rate
  • 18% said back links

Meanwhile, actual search engine ranking factors in order of importance:

  1. Trust/ Authority
  2. Link Popularity
  3. Anchor Text
  4. On-Page Keyword
  5. Hosting Data
  6. Traffic + Click-Thrus
  7. Social Graph

2. How consumers feel about PPC ads that run alongside organic results.

  • 63% are more likely to click an organic result over a paid ad
  • 23% have never clicked a paid ad

Google Adwords
3. Most consumers are unaware that the results they see are not the same for every Google user.

  • 64% are unaware that Google personalized their results
  • 54% are unhappy that Google tracks their online activity to personalize results

In conclusion, marketers should look at these results carefully. It shows a general public still unaware of the increases in personalization and trust in determining search engine results. We can recommend 3 takeaways for the marketers from this study.

1. Backlinks and Trust are two key elements of search engine ranking success and should not be discounted even if consumers feel otherwise.
2. There is still a reluctance for consumers to click on paid ads, so SEO spending should be continued in addition to paid search.
3. Social media will continue to impact SEO regardless of consumers knowing or caring about this trend.

Rich Snippets and Product Listing Ads

Rich Snippets and Product Listing Ads are ideas which can enhance the search experience for users shopping online. When someone types a query for a product, Google has enabled features both organic and paid which can highlight your product details, give more attention to your listings and ads and set your brand apart from other advertisers.
Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets are the few lines of text that appear under every search result in Google. They are designed to give users a sense for what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to their query. If Google understands the content on your pages, it can create these rich snippets, which provide detailed information intended to help users with specific queries. For example, the snippet for a restaurant might show the average review and price range; the snippet for a recipe page might show the total preparation time, a photo, and the recipe’s review rating; and the snippet for a music album could list songs along with a link to play each song. For the product advertiser, the goal of a product rich snippet is to provide users with additional information about a specific product, such as the product’s price, availability (whether product is in stock), and reviewer(s) ratings and commentary.These rich snippets help users recognize when your site is relevant to their search, and may result in more clicks to your pages.

You can optimize your product specific pages so they are more likely to appear with rich snippets by marking up your content with particular product and offer properties and description tags, preferable using the microdata format. Specifics can be found here.

Product Listing Ads or “PLA’s” are search ads that include richer product information, such as product image, price, and merchant name, without requiring additional keywords or ad text. Whenever a user enters a search query relevant to an item in your Google Merchant Center account, Google will automatically show the most relevant products along with the associated image, price and product name.

PLA

Product Listing Ads require a Google Merchant Center account and a feed set up with all of the products intended to be advertised. You then link the merchant and adwords accounts together from both tools to have access to the feed within Adwords. “PLA’s” do not use keywords and you can set offers or “promotions”, or test with none at all. You need to link in products from the feed using product attributes, for which Google provides a testing tool to make sure the product is being found in the feed. For some advertisers the competition to show as a “PLA” will be very high and you can increase the likelihood by using very specific product attributes to link from the merchant feed such as product ID.

Rich snippets and product listing ads require a bit more forethought and effort, however provide additional avenues to market products using organic and paid search. To gain a competitive edge with e-commerce, sometimes using every specifically designed tool can return extra benefits and be very rewarding.

Fall colors & marketing passion!

Sunset SailingHappy September Bloggers!

It’s hard to believe that the summer of 2012 is finally coming to an end. But it’s also an exciting time of year to look forward to all the beautiful fall colors, apple picking, football season, and being able to wear that favorite snugly sweater again!

The Nowspeed team has had quite an amazing summer with lots of new social media clients coming on board, an awesome company summer outing at F1 Racing, lots and lots of thoughtful team meetings to enhance the Nowspeed workflow, and creative innovative lunches to add some spice to our everyday lives. More recently, we were able to take a sailing trip from Barden’s Boat Yard Inc. in Marion, MA. To view some amazing pictures of our exploration, click here. 

Here are some marketing tips we’d like to share with you which we also posted on our @Nowspeed Twitter account:

Please feel free to retweet any of our content any time and of course let us know which articles you like most so we can better cater content to you!
Hope you all had an awesome summer as well!
Signing off,
Michelle

Mobile Trends That Matter

The massive growth in mobile smart phone users is a big opportunity for advertisers looking for new ways to reach people with timely, relevant messages and engage with their audiences.

Today there are over 250 million smart phone subscribers in the US and over 1/3 of these are using smart phones. 2011 is projected to be the first year that more smart phones are sold than regular feature phones. Even with fewer users last year, in 2010 more Internet usage happened from smart phone than feature phones for the first time. If you use a smart phone you know that it’s much easier to access Internet data, and because it’s easier, we use it more often.

I recently reviewed the BIMA event, Understanding the Rapidly Evolving Mobile Landscape, which was presented on Thursday, March 24, 2011, and I came away with fresh understanding of the power of this new media opportunity. Gene Keenan, VP Mobile Services, Isobar, had especially insightful comments and data.

Although there are over 500 different feature phones in use today, fortunately for advertisers, only three platforms matter; iPhone, Android and Blackberry. And all three use the Webkick browser.
Platforms such as iPhone and Android would have you believe that only apps matter in the smart phone environment, but in fact both apps and web browser applications are useful and important. Apps are critical for some functions, such as maps, games, weather, etc., but users also search the mobile internet ad hoc, and expect to find mobile friendly websites with useful information.

By the way, mobile does not mean mobile. People are using smart phones and other mobile devices at home or while watching TV. One important mobile advertising opportunity is to target mobile search advertising buys during the time TV ads are running to make the experience more interactive and move powerful. Search queries on mobile increased by 500% in the past two years. And 87% of mobile users have admitted to searching while they were in a store in order to make more informed purchases.
These powerful changes in consumer behavior are having a dramatic impact on the purchase process. In the past we assumed the people went through a linear process starting with awareness, then on to consideration, finally purchase. Today the process is non linear and complex. Consumers are doing more research, talking to friends, finding reviews – and they are doing this at home, in-stores, and everywhere they are.

This changing consumer behavior represents a big opportunity for marketers to engage with their audience like never before. Advertisers should respond by creating a mobile version of their website, and testing mobile advertising using search and other mobile sites and apps.