ITP 2.0: What Advertisers Need to Know
We all want to stay protected on the internet, and big tech companies are trying to strike a balance between supporting user privacy and giving businesses the ability to better understand users to target relevant advertisements. The most recent update of Safari features Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0, or ITP 2.0. This security measure uses machine learning to identify and block tracking cookies. This blocking assures users that their data is better protected. However, it also prevents advertisers from better understanding their target customers.

For advertisers, the biggest impact is to conversion tracking. Here’s what you need to know about ITP 2.0 and what you need to do to make sure you’re tracking all of your conversions.

What do I need to know about ITP 2.0?

ITP 2.0 is a recent feature of the Safari web browser, popular on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. By blocking cookies placed by advertising companies, it can prevent you as an advertiser from effectively recording conversions like form fills and purchases.

When you can’t record conversions, you aren’t able to evaluate how well your accounts are performing or make informed changes to improve. Basically, without conversion tracking, you don’t understand the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns.

The good news is, Google, Bing, and Facebook have come up with solutions that allow you to continue to track conversions and add Safari visitors to your remarketing lists. But you may need to take action.

Am I affected?

If you haven’t already prepared for ITP 2.0, you likely are.

According to Net Marketshare, Safari is the second most popular browser on the market when counting desktops, phones, and tablets. Overall, it represents 17.5% of web visitors, and a much higher proportion of mobile visitors.

Image via Net Marketshare

If you rely on mobile visitors to convert on your site (and you probably do!), it’s very possible that you are missing conversion data. The landing page form fills and other valuable conversion actions are still occurring, but they’re not being attributed to your ads.

What should I do about it?

Luckily, all three major advertising companies have solutions that will continue to allow you to accurately track conversions.

If you’re using Google Ads, with or without Google Analytics, you should update your tracking tag to use their new GTag,...
PPC Budgets vs. Bids: What’s the Difference?
Budgets and bids – they seem identical, right? If I have a larger budget, I should inevitably be more competitive, win in the ad auction more often, and achieve higher KPI metrics. If I have a smaller budget? Simple – my account wouldn’t perform as well. Why would an account with a $5000 monthly budget perform worse than one with $1000 in the same industry, right?

Well, not exactly. And, folks, that is precisely what I want to talk about today. I’ll explain why budgets and bids are not the same, why you can’t depend on a bigger budget to carry your account, and how your bids can help improve your account performance – regardless of how big or small your budget may be.

Budgets determine overall performance

A lot of my clients understand that budget is a key factor in performance, and I cannot deny that! If you do not have the proper funds to support your online advertising, you will effectively be restricting your account from performing optimally. If you think about it, your budget affects how long your ads continue to serve throughout the day, how much you are able to spend on a click, and how many of your products and services that you can realistically show ads for.

But does budget really affect account performance in the ad auction? I’d say yes and no.

Budget does NOT impact how much you are telling Google you are willing to spend on a click. If we break it down, the Google auction factors in your ad rank, and this is composed of both the individual keyword bid price and Quality Score. Quality Score has many factors, such as page speed, mobile compatibility, relevancy of your ad to your keywords, landing page experience, relevancy of landing page content to the ad, and more. There are a lot of variables in Quality Score that you may or may not be able to control depending on your authority over your business’s website.  

Whether you’re a small business with an even smaller marketing budget or you work at an agency for a client with strict limits, in most cases, you don’t have much control over your total budget, either. Instead of focusing on how you could potentially improve your account performance if you had control over these factors, I suggest shifting focus to what is in our control: bids.

Bids make your account competitive

While we can’t always adjust our budget, what we CAN control is our bids. Even better? We can...
8 Essential Tips for Real Estate Video Marketing
Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or just a plain old real estate marketer, you know the importance of maintaining a strong, reputable, and attractive presence for your target audience. In such a competitive industry that hits so close to home (couldn’t resist), it is critical to market your business effectively and find ways to one-up your competitors.

If you have not hopped on the video bandwagon, then it is time to buck up and take the leap. Video has increased in popularity among marketers – and for good reason.

Real estate listings that utilize video marketing receive 403% more inquiries than those without video! Yet, if you are new to video, this can feel quite intimidating. As a past employee of a video hosting and marketing company, I understand this far too well. But I’m here to tell you that there is nothing to be afraid of! Video is not only a fun medium to work with; it is also one that can take your business to the next level. Here are eight tips that will help you sell more homes with video.

Tip #1: Set aside an appropriate budget

This first step towards video marketing success is ensuring you have quality videos. You may have been encouraged to just jump into video and not worry so much about production quality. While this might be true for certain instances (like sending video voicemails or other one-to-one interaction), for the real estate industry it is important that your marketing videos looked polished and perfected. It makes sense, right? This industry is all about aesthetics. If a property is not visually pleasing, then you are not going to have much luck getting it off the market.

Check out this video from Lifestyle Production Group. It really shows the value of investing in quality video production. From the drone footage to the B roll to the swanky music, this video really transports the viewer into a whole new world of luxury.

If you don’t have the budget for something this glamorous, don’t fret! There are ways to do video in-house professionally that won’t cost you an arm and leg. We’re lucky enough to live in a world where a lot of us carry around high quality video cameras in our pockets every day. For instance, check out this guide to filming professional looking videos on your iPhone!

It is also important not to forget that you need to set aside budget for promoting your videos on platforms like...
Breaking: Google Launches New Black Friday Ad Unit
Joy to the world, Black Friday promotion extensions have come! While you were sleeping, Google released a brand new ad unit aimed at helping advertisers run more effective holiday campaigns. So if you’re an advertiser that’s been carefully preparing for Black Fiveday—the five day span between Black Friday and Cyber Monday when search volume goes nutty—you now have another valuable asset to add to your bag of holiday marketing tricks.

Here’s the lowdown on Google’s latest ad innovation.

Black Friday Promotion Extensions: What Are They?

Black Friday promotion extensions…that’s a mouthful. If you’re not familiar with promotion extensions, Google introduced them around this time last year. Promotion extensions give advertisers a way to highlight specific promotions in their text ads without cutting into their valuable character counts.

Promotion extensions were originally manufactured as an answer to increased search volume around the holidays—they replaced the Black Friday and Cyber Monday structured snippets of yesteryear. And, by allowing advertisers to highlight the relevant specifics of their promotions—things like minimum order values, promo codes, guaranteed delivery dates, and shipping details—promotion extensions give you more opportunities to attract prospects with various value props. The proof is very much in the pudding in this case: WordStream clients average a nearly 10% click-through rate when using promotion extensions, higher than both price and sitelink extensions:

As you might imagine, both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are among the “occasions” on which you can already choose to run promotion extensions. Google’s new ad units, however, are slightly different than your run-of-the-mill promotion extension. Rather, they are powered by promotion extensions, and appear as a wholly unique ad unit in the SERP:

If you choose to take advantage of this unique ad format, your ad will show up at the very top of the SERP under “Black Friday Deals.” You’ll have the option to use this new ad unit from now until November 27th, officially.

How to Get in the Game

According to Google, 100 percent of searches for “Black Friday” last year happened between November 19 and November 25, so they are using historical data to pretty tightly define the time parameters of the experiment.  The Black Friday ad unit runs...
Selling on Instagram: 5 Steps to Make Money and Move Units
Instagram hit one billion monthly users—almost an eighth of the world’s population—in June. It is a wildly popular platform, and its growth trajectory is showing no signs of plateauing. Unfortunately for advertisers, the same can be said about the amount of money businesses are currently spending to promote their products and services in the name of selling on Instagram. Ad spend jumped 177 percent year-over-year in Q2 of this year. Impressions grew by 209 percent, and CPMs (average cost per thousand impressions) fell by 10 percent. Advertisers are spending more money than ever in the photo-sharing app, and they’re getting better at doing so. Competition is high.

That said, about two million  advertisers use Instagram every month—this is still a very small percentage of one billion. And even though not all of Instagram’s user base is in the market for new products and services, let alone your particular product or service, there is still an abundance of opportunity to leverage the platform to sell your pretty things. 

I’m here to tell you how to do it right! Follow these five steps to make money and move units on Instagram, and you’ll soon be selling on Instagram like a wily veteran.

Step 1: Convert to a business profile

Nothing novel here, but a shocking number of small business owners I talk to want to start selling on Instagram without first completing this simple step. Converting your standard Instagram profile to a business profile gives you access to a number of indispensable selling and reporting options. Before we get into those, here’s how to make the switch.

Log into your account and tap the cheesburger-looking button at the top right of your dashboard.
Tap Settings at the bottom right.
Scroll down to “Switch to Business Profile.”
Boom! You’re done. If you ever want to switch back (you won’t), just head back to the same spot and tap “Switch Back to Personal Account.”

Now! Some highlights of the features available after you’ve made the switch:

Instagram Insights. It’s not as easy on Instagram as it is, say, on Facebook, to look up a follower’s personal and demographic information. It’s even more difficult to compile that data in aggregate. Instagram Insights does the hard work for you.

There’s no shortage of useful data here, and when you switch to a business profile, it’s all conveniently accessible through...
3 Tips for Better, Faster YouTube Keyword Research
Think back to the last time you wanted to know something. You headed straight to Google, right?

Now, think about this: What did you do the last time you wanted to learn how to do something?

You had to change a switch on your dishwasher. Apply your makeup in a new trendy way. Cook a dish so far outside of your comfort zone it needed a safe word.

You probably headed to YouTube instead.

And you’re not alone: 5 billion videos are consumed daily on YouTube. The platform’s users comprise almost a third of the internet.

YouTube is a marketer’s paradise. With so many potential viewers, your target audience is bound to be searching for how to videos and more. To make sure your ads get in front of your audience, though, you need video SEO and keyword research on your side.

Here’s how to make it work.

Why You Need Keyword Research for YouTube

It’s simple: Video marketing is too expensive to not be as strategic as possible about what you’re creating and how you’re distributing it.

You need every possible edge you can get for your video marketing to keep costs low and your ROI high. And for that, keyword research could be the different between your marketing efforts amounting to a scream into the void or a roaring success.

Keyword research will make it easier for your audience to find you. And getting them to find you means more opportunities for getting shared. 76% of users say they’ll pass your video along, even if it’s a branded video, as long as it's entertaining.

(Image Source)

In fact, branded YouTube videos often rank among the most popular.

But using keyword research means more than getting shared. It also means finding customers and the gaps where your competition isn't already outspending you.

This strategic research, coupled with a commitment to quality, helped one ecommerce business grow their channel to 3 million subscribers. And Brian Dean of Backlinko helped Buffer expand their YouTube channel by 59% in 30 days with YouTube SEO.

(Image Source)

That’s one hell of an uptick, and most of that growth came from just five videos!

So, bottom line? You can't afford to skip keyword research. The good news? This research doesn’t have to be frustrating or time-consuming. Here are the three best ways to get better YouTube keyword research faster.

#1: Leverage Free YouTube Keyword Research Tools

What Works & What Doesn’t When Automating Ad Copy & Keywords
This post is the second in a series about automating Google Ads to be more efficient with your time, without running the risk of over-automating. Last time we talked about automated rules and best practices for them. This time we’ll be discussing ad copy and keywords and ways to save time on the two biggest cornerstones of your search campaigns without sacrificing performance.

None of the strategies here will allow you to be completely hands off, as these two areas of your account are far too important to fully automate, but hopefully they can help you save some time and still see great results. Let’s get started!

Leveraging Dynamic Keyword Features

Keywords are a cornerstone of search campaigns, but they can take lots of time to curate and optimize to find the right variants for your account. Luckily, there are some ways you can semi-automate the keyword process to save time while still being successful on search.

Keyword Match Types

The easiest form of keyword expansion in search campaigns is to utilize the many match types available. Each has their own level of strictness with which it will match your keywords to search queries on the engines. If you’re needing to maintain strong control over your queries, I suggest using exact and phrase match as they’ll match to the least amount of variables of your keywords (though even exact match is not really exact).

What works

If you’re looking for additional volume without adding more keywords, look into testing modified broad match. This match type allows you to keep a level of control by designating root keywords with a “+” sign but will be very dynamic outside of those words. You’ll be able to generate additional volume with keyword variations that are still relevant to your core keywords.

What to watch out for

Broad match is a match type that should be used very sparingly. If you’re utilizing all three match types above and are still looking for additional search volume, broad match might be worth a small test, but I would suggest you leverage any and all of the additional strategies below first, as broad match is notorious for having high volumes of traffic, but with much less relevance to the original keyword you added. You can learn more about match types in PPC U.

Opportunity Tab and Recommendation Tab Suggestions

What works

The Recommendation tab in Google and the Opportunities...
Google’s Change to Exact Match Was Big, But Was it Actually Bad? [DATA]
Last month, Google announced another major change to its keyword match types. Specifically, exact match keywords would begin to serve to search terms that are “close variants that share the same meaning of your keywords,” including synonyms, paraphrases, and results with the same implied intent. This change further diluted “exact match” keywords that began matching out to misspellings and grammatical variants in 2014 and queries with reordered words or with the addition or omission of “functional” words in early 2017.

Google rolled these changes out to advertisers throughout October, and many were not happy with losing control over their search keywords. And who can blame them, really? When diligent SEMs routinely monitor their search term reports, it’s certainly discouraging to see things like your exact match keyword for [leather handbags] matching to a search for a “cheap purse” or vice versa:

I’ve been assured these are very different products.

Following the results of over 16,000 advertisers throughout the change, it looks as if advertisers were not wrong to be worried about the reach of their exact match keywords. The change affected all English keywords and all advertisers, with no chance to opt out. By comparing the relative frequency of these close-variant matched search terms from before and after this change, we can view to what extent.

It’s worth noting that before this change, close variant matches for exact match keywords were a relatively seldom occurrence, making up just less than 5% of all ad impressions from exact match keywords. In the dust of this change – we see a significant 37.3% rise in the reach of these close variant matches. That means that close-variant terms now make up 6.8% of the reach of these exact match keywords. That’s still a minority of ad impressions, but these new matches do pose some challenges as well.

What Does It All Mean?

How you interpret this data really depends on whether you’re a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty type of person.

The growth of these new close variant search terms has effects on the performance of our ads and on our budgets. More impressions of course mean more clicks and ultimately more costs as well; our study revealed that these close variants now are receiving 23.6% more clicks and costing advertisers 14.7% more than they had prior to the October...
What’s Up at WordStream This Fall
This year WordStream was named one of the best places to work in Boston—for the fourth year in a row. But ever wonder what WordStream employees are doing in between working on new product releases or helping our clients reach their PPC goals that makes this such a great company to be a part of?

Here’s what we’ve been up to at WordSteam the past few months.

Reigning as softball champions

On October 25, we started the playoff game by inviting former team members who had played the last time we claimed the title of national champions onto the mound to throw the first pitch. Oh, wait. No, that was the other champion team from Boston playing that night…

While the Red Sox were winning the second game of the world series, WordStream’s softball team was playing in their own championship game. WordStream plays in the novice division of a marketing agency league. This might seem like the stakes weren’t quite as high, but our team made it to playoffs with a stellar record after a, well, less-than-stellar previous season. (The enthusiastic team of talented WordStreamers won just a few games and finished with the least runs scored for any team in the league.)

After making it all the way to the championship game this year, the WordStream softball team was down 6–9 in the 7th inning. Enter Erik Lindgren, accounts receivable specialist and softball team MVP, who hit a walk-off double that ended the game and nabbed WordStream the championship.

Fundraising for Thanksgiving dinners

For the second year in a row, WordStream has passed on collecting cans in a food drive and committed instead to raising funds for Thanksgiving dinner donations. Last year, WordStream donated $1,000 to the Greater Boston Food Bank; this year, we’ve decided to sponsor local families to provide them with full Thanksgiving dinners. WordStream worked with Boston Scores, a local non-profit organization that helps create after-school soccer and enrichment programs in Boston public schools, to identify 10 families to receive packages filled with all the holiday classics, like turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes.

Additionally, WordStream has teamed up with Westwood Middle School to help supplement the student body’s fundraising efforts. The students are creating food baskets to donate to families experiencing homelessness who have children attending a local...

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08 Dec 2018