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Decompose your ads, not your brand

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Raise your hand if you would like to advertise for your brand without knowing what the message will be? A lot of people probably remember Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) gone bad with the fancy syntax {KeyWord:OrElse}. It was a prime example of the dangers of automation, and maybe it was back then when ads started decomposing. I will always remember the eBay ads that would appear on practically any search query you could imagine. Search for “Dirty Thoughts,” and an ad would offer “Dirty Thoughts for Sale.” Or how about “Athletic Sweat” or “Vampire blood?” I think this is my favorite:

And there are even more examples including Free Dead Cats or ads inciting users to Meet Dead Singles.

At the time, I thought eBay had a special deal with Google to target just any keyword, but looking closer, I noticed many of them had the little “aff.” mention in the ad, showing they were affiliates rather than eBay itself. Affiliates are good for volume but not for branding.

Today, digital marketers have become accustomed to working with automation and dynamic ad composition. As an example of this, the creative process on Facebook is composed of four stages: identity (brand), format, image (or video) and text. The ad composer then allows the digital marketer to view what the composed ad will look like in each placement.

Beyond that, you simply can’t picture what the end product will look like.

Google has also progressively decomposed ads on its’ network into individual elements. Recently, on Google Marketing Live, a new type of ad was launched, the Discovery Ads. These ads are dynamically composed based on titles, description and images and are displayed on three different Google properties: Youtube, Gmail and Google Discover. Google recommends you to provide as many variations of each element as possible. Google can also scan your website for images, you can add them manually, or if you don’t have any images available, “try searching for stock images.” The machine will take care of the rest.

Do I need to say this? If you care about your brand and about the user experience – then don’t!

You don’t “look for stock images” when you are within the Google platform creating an ad. You will have done the thinking and the image search for this, working with other people, and in a structured process. And if not, that is where you need to step up and build a better process for building dynamic ads.

But it gets worse

Google also announced a new machine-learning based ad feature called the “Bumper Machine.” I like the dreamy nature of that tool and the vision on which it was based. It will take existing video ads and turn them into six-second long “bumper ads” to put in front, or at the end of a video on Youtube. It is a fantastic technological achievement, but does it really cover a need? The intention behind it is positive: help advertisers overcome the pain of having to create a new video format for Youtube when they already have one (longer version) of the video. It is, however, a complete disruption of the creative process and a mechanism by which the story and the message from the original video are also recomposed.

I asked one of the speakers at the SMX London conference, Roey Rafael, a Youtube ad specialist for Envato, what his thoughts were on this new solution. He already optimizes videos to convey a full story within the first five seconds, so that he can benefit from free impressions using the TrueView type of ad so he won’t be using it.

We cannot ignore what is at hand, however. Ads are continuing to be decomposed into individual elements and dynamically recomposed at the time of visualization, as ads become contextual, multi-format and personalized. As for the eBay example cited above, letting loose technology can have some unexpected and undesirable effects on the end-user.

Leading teams are building brand consistency

In my company’s research, we surveyed leading paid search teams and we asked the participants how “brand consistency” was being managed. The responses were encouraging, as a majority were actively building this with their clients or stakeholders.

But a number of them said this was not in their area of responsibility and relied on other departments or their clients to ensure brand consistency.

Is your process optimized for ad composition?

Creative disruption and ad decomposition are here to stay. And despite my warnings above, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing – we simply need to organize for it. This comes down to rethinking the way brand assets are put together and how communication channels are used. The “Bumper Machine” is there for a reason – advertisers didn’t prepare six-second ads and therefore, they can do it with the bumper machine. But in the future, they should build video ads with various outputs: six seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 90 seconds. This requires a different creative process, with a focus on the input rather than the output. Essentially it is one story to be told in various time frames from various angles and with various formats of output.

For images and messaging, the same philosophy should apply. Image selection should focus on the values they express and be made available in various formats and resolutions. And once the values are reflected in the images, they should also be carried by the various communication workers in an organization. Communication is increasingly transcending the entire organization – think about employee advocacy which a lot of organizations are striving for. Have you prepared your employees for carrying the values of your brand? Are you empowering them?

My favorite metaphor for an ideal communication process is that of the hologram. In a hologram, every pixel of the 3D image holds a representation of the entire image. The brand can be seen from many angles and with many nuances, but the image remains consistent from one communication instance to the other. From one ad to the next, even shifting devices or changing channels, the image remains consistent.

We have work to do.


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

Anders Hjorth is the author of the Search Strategies Report and the founder of Innovell, a digital marketing insights consultancy researching trends in digital marketing. As a pioneer in SEO, one of the first Google Advertising professionals and the co-founder of several agencies: Relevant Traffic (search marketing), BDBL MEDIA (biddable media) and AZNOS (content marketing), he has a broad and long-running experience across SEO, paid search, social media, content marketing and programmatic. Anders was also COO for GroupM Search across EMEA. Anders is also active as a member of various awards juries and advisory boards.

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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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