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Cyber Monday dominated Black Friday in paid search spend, but AOV lagged

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Source: NetElixir

We know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday were record setters again this year, and with that, paid search spend continued to grow, as did most other metrics. Overall, mobile orders were up 18 percent over the five day period last year, according to NetElixir data. Here are some key paid search trends gleaned from a couple of early reports.

Orders were highest Cyber Monday, but Black Friday topped AOV. Cyber Monday accounted for 36 percent of the sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, while 24 percent of sales occurred on Black Friday, according to retail search marketing agency NetElixir. That’s a slight shift from 37 and 23 percent, respectively, last year. However, average order value (AOV) was highest on Black Friday at $120.17, beating out the $115.78 AOV seen on Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday’s AOV came in at $91.40, 24 percent lower than Black Friday. Overall, AOV fell by 8.8 percent compared to last year. NetElixir attributes that drop primarily to the increase in mobile conversions where basket sizes are typically smaller.

Spend surged, orders rose. Ad spend on Black Friday surged 81 percent higher than the average preceding days in November. Cyber Monday spend indexed even higher at 105 percent above average, according to campaign management platform provider Marin Software. Clicks rose 53 percent on Black Friday and 40 percent on Cyber Monday. In large part spurred by mobile, conversions increased by 15.33 percent compared to last year.

But also higher CPCs. With all the added jockeying for attention during peak sales days, it’s not surprising to see ad prices also rose. The gaps between the leaps in ad spend and relatively lower increases in clicks means CPCs were also up during those days compared to the earlier part of November. And compared to last year, NetElixir found CPCs rose 12.3 percent over last year between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

Differing daypart patterns. The busiest hours for searching and buying during the holiday period were between 6pm and midnight. That last shift of the day accounted for 35.49 percent of impressions and 34.3 percent of orders. Close behind, however, was the afternoon. Nearly 32 percent of impressions and 33 percent of orders were generated between noon and 6pm.

Looking at just Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the chart below, Black Friday orders were relatively steady from 6am on as many people had the day off (or had a slow work day). The Cyber Monday trend however, was quite different as more people shopped after work during the 6pm-midnight hours.

Source: NetElixir

Why you should care. The daypart data highlights the need to pay careful attention to budgets and bid adjustments. “The conversion rates during the top day-parts were as much as 2.5% higher than the average conversion rate (during this period) of 8.32 percent,” said NetElixir.

NetElixir expects the sales growth from paid search to continue throughout the holiday season. Many advertisers will likely see lower average order values than last year as mobile accounts for more click and conversion share. On Cyber Monday, for example, mobile generated 67 percent of clicks, up from 61 percent last year, and 49 percent of orders compared to 44 in 2017. On that Saturday, mobile saw the highest share of orders, topping 62 percent. The trick for retailers will be to turn new mobile shoppers into long-term, repeat customers after the holidays pass.


About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all of our publications. Ginny writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, she has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.





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Google Search Console image search reporting bug June 5-7

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Google posted a notice that between the dates of June 5 through June 7, it was unable to capture data around image search traffic. This is just a reporting bug and did not impact actual search traffic, but the Search Console performance report may show drops in image search traffic in that date range.

The notice. The notice read, “June 5-7: Some image search statistics were not captured during this period due to an internal issue. Because of this, you may see a drop in your image search statistics during this period. The change did not affect user Search results, only the data reporting.”

How do I see this? If you login to Google Search Console, click into your performance report and then filter by clicking on the “search type” filter. You can then select image from the filters.

Here is a screen shot of this filter:

How To Filter By Image Traffic in Google Search Console

Why we should care. If your site gets a lot of Google Image search traffic, you may notice a dip in your traffic reporting within Google Search Console. You may have not noticed a similar dip in your other analytics tools. That being said, Google said this is only a reporting glitch within Google Search Console and did not impact your actual traffic to your web site.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

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Facebook Changes Reach of Comments in News Feed

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Facebook announced a change to it’s algorithms that will affect the reach of comments on a post. Comments that have specific quality signals will  be highly ranked. Low quality comment practices may result in less reach.

Comment Ranking in News Feeds

Facebook noted that not only are posts ranked in news feeds but comments are also ranked as well.

Posts with comments that have positive quality signals will be seen by more people. Posts with low quality signals will have their news feed reach reduced.

Facebook Comment-Quality Signals

Facebook noted that their updated comment algorithm has four features:

  1. Integrity signals
  2. User indicated preferences
  3. User interaction signals
  4. Moderation signals

Integrity Signals

Integrity Signals are a measure of authenticity. Comments that violate community standards or fall into engagement-bait are negative signals. Violations of community standards are said to be removed.

Engagement Bait

Facebook engagement bait is a practice that has four features:

1. React Baiting

Encouraging users to react to your post

2. Follow and Share Baiting

This is described as telling visitors to like, share or subscribe.

3. Comment Baiting

Encouraging users to comment with a letter or number are given as examples.

. Monetization Baiting

This is described as asking for “stars” in exchange for something else, which could include something trivial like “doing push ups.”

User Indicated Preferences

This is a reference to user polls that Facebook conducts in order to understand what users say they wish to see in comments.

User Interaction Signals

These are signals related to whether users interact with a post.

Moderation Signals

This is a reference to how users hide or delete comments made in their posts.

Here is how Facebook describes it:

“People can moderate the comments on their post by hiding, deleting, or engaging with comments.

Ranking is on by default for Pages and people with a a lot of followers, but Pages and people with a lot of followers can choose to turn off comment ranking.

People who don’t have as many followers will not have comment ranking turned on automatically since there are less comments overall, but any person can decide to enable comment ranking by going to their settings. (See more details here.) “

Facebook Targeting Low Quality Comments

One of the stated goals of this update is to hide low quality posts from people’s Facebook feeds and to promote high quality posts by people you might know.

This is how Facebook described it:

“To improve relevance and quality, we’ll start showing comments on public posts more prominently when:

  • The comments have interactions from the Page or person who originally posted; or
  • The comments or reactions are from friends of the person who posted.”

Read Facebook’s announcement here: Making Public Comments More Meaningful

Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author

 



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Build your PPC campaigns with this mini campaign builder script for Google Ads

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Need to quickly build a campaign or add keywords to an existing one? This script will do the work for you!

All you need to do is input a few keywords and headlines in a spreadsheet and BAM! You’ve got yourself the beginnings of a great campaign.

I’m a firm believer in Single Keyword per Ad Group (SKAG) structure – it increases ad/keyword relevance and therefore improves quality score, makes CPCs cheaper, gets you a higher ad rank and a better CTR.

Sadly, building out SKAG structures is a pretty time-consuming endeavor. You can’t implement millions of keywords and ads without PPC tech powering your builds.

But if a client just needs a couple of new keywords after updating their site with new content, this script is a quick and easy solution.

And that’s exactly what I love about PPC. There’s a special place in my heart for simple scripts anyone can use to achieve tasks that are otherwise repetitive or near-impossible.

What does the script do?

This tool will save a lot of time with small-scale builds where you know exactly which keywords and ad copy you need, for example when you’re adding a few keywords to an existing campaign.

You input your campaign name, keywords, headlines, descriptions, paths and final URL, and it will output three tabs for you: one with keyword combinations, one with negatives, and ads to upload to Google Ads Editor.

It creates one exact and one broad match modifier campaign and creates a list of keywords as exact negatives in the broad campaign to make sure that search terms that match exactly will go through the exact keyword.

I’m sure you’re dying to give it a whirl, so let’s get cracking!

How do you use it?

Make a copy of this spreadsheet (note: you’ll need to authorize the script to run). You’ll find all the instructions there as a future reminder.

Once you’ve got the spreadsheet ready, input the following:

  • The campaign name
  • The campaign name delimiter to distinguish between broad and exact campaigns
  • Headline 1 (if this cell is not specified, then it will be the same as the keyword)
  • Headline 2
  • Optionally, headline 3
  • Description 1
  • Optionally, description 2
  • Optionally, path 1 and path 2
  • The final URL
  • The keywords (you can keep going outside of the box with these!)

You’ll see a handy character counter which will go red if you exceed the character limit. Bear in mind that this tool will assume that you’re using it correctly and so you’ll need to make sure that you’re staying within the limit!

You can also optionally create a second ad variant by choosing the part of your text you want to vary (e.g., headline 2 or description 2) and inputting the copy. Otherwise, just select “None” from the dropdown menu.

Once you’re done, click the gigantic “Go!” Button, and wait for the magic to happen.

It will generate three tabs labelled “Keywords,” “Negatives” and “Ads.” If you want to run the script again with different keywords, make sure you save these tabs elsewhere or rename them to prevent the script from overriding them.

Finally, you can paste these tabs into Editor and update all the relevant settings and adjustments. Job done!

DOWNLOAD: You’ll need to authorize the script to run after you make a copy of this spreadsheet.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Daniel Gilbert is the CEO at Brainlabs, the best paid media agency in the world (self-declared). He has started and invested in a number of big data and technology startups since leaving Google in 2010.

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