In the ever-changing world of Google it’s important to keep up to date with new innovations and advancements. Google Partners events are held to allow agencies and marketers to be educated on new products and initiatives, take part in training sessions and discussions as well as network and meet Google account strategists. As a Google Partner Agency the Manchester PPC team were invited to attend the most recent Google Partners event.
The event was held at the Hilton Hotel. If you don’t know the city this hotel is located in the most imposing and impressive building in Manchester, which features a bar on the 23rd floor that has amazing views across the city. We arrived and headed over to the desk where the people in bright Google t-shirts were located. We were then given our lanyards and a Google cupcake(!), and directed up to the bar. The first part of the day was a session with our dedicated Space & Time Google account strategist where we discussed particular accounts and new ideas. Everyone was also given the opportunity to ask questions regarding new products and changes within Adwords on a 1:1 basis.
It was then time for the first training session of the day. This was a really useful session with open discussions and talks from Google trainers and industry experts. Recent changes in Google Analytics were mentioned, the most noticeable being the change to the terms visit and visitors.will now be called “ ” and will be called “ “. It seems these changes were made due to the fact some metrics used different names in app views and in web views. Now, all the metrics and dimension names are the same whether you are viewing web or app data. It is important to understand these changes when pulling Analytics data into Adwords so you are sure exactly what data you are analysing. The use of Analytics was also discussed in relation to identifying the time of the day when the traffic to your website is most valuable, returning a good ROI or cost-per-conversion. Using this information you can then begin introducing bid adjustments in Adwords to focus on those times of the day. This is a great optimisation tool for campaigns that suffer due to the lack of budget. The question ‘which ad position is better?’ was raised. The performance of ad positions can be reviewed in Analytics and then used to optimise campaigns. The idea that all ads perform better in the top position is just not true: 3rd, 4th or even 5th position could potentially be a more cost-effective position to be in. This, of course, varies between different clients and industries and as an agency we use Google Experiments to test the various positions and identify the optimum ad position for a particular client.
The conversation then moved onto conversions. While the majority of the time conversions are viewed as the ultimate goal of an Adwords campaign, the need to identify both macro and micro conversions is growing increasingly important in a world of likes, pins, videos and followers. Macro conversions are the obvious actions you would like the visitor to make once on site, whether this is a purchase, sign up, booking of an appointment or a phone call. But there are many actions that a visitor could make that can be attributed as a micro conversion and should be set up as goals in Google Analytics, for example the viewing of a certain page or PDF, becoming a new Google + follower, watching a video etc. Although these actions aren’t necessarily a full macro conversion they are still of high importance when analysing site engagement and the process that leads to a macro conversion.
Following lunch we attended an introduction from the Google Partners Product Marketing Manager, where she ran through the resources available to Google Partners members. These include an online community where you can connect with industry leaders and Google experts and stay up to date with the latest agency news, which is becoming more and more vital in the fast pace world of paid search.
A Google product update was next featuring talks on 2014 ‘Big Bets’ including mobile advertising and Google Shopping & Export. Google describes the current advertising landscape as a multi-screen world, with the growth of smartphone and tablet traffic continuing. In the UK smartphone penetration by the end of 2014 will be 75% but it is also just one step of a user’s journey. According to a Google report 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal with search being a critical connector as they move between the devices. Therefore tactics like keyword parity should be used to ensure advertisers can be found easily via search when customers move to their next device. Optimising your PPC campaigns for mobile is now just as important as on desktop with the use of call extensions, mobile specific ad text and mobile bid optimisation. Also don’t forget, a well-designed, fully functioning mobile site is critical! It is the continued focus of Google that as an agency we ensure for our clients that ‘we are always there, always relevant and always optimising’.
The presentation then moved on to Google’s next big focus of the year so far, the Shopping Campaigns and businesses growing with Export. Recent Google Blogs recognise that the internet is borderless. The UK market is saturated and growth in ecommerce and retail is going to come from a global market; 68% of UK retail queries came internationally last year. Google have several tools to help you carry out your research, find your audience and look at online and offline shopping behaviours. They can help when acquiring customers globally and speaking to your customers in their native language. This is all aimed with helping businesses and agencies prepare, launch, grow and lead an international strategy. Further, this is reflected in Googles upgrading of the current Product Listing Ads into the Shopping Campaigns. The Product Listing Ads once on the right hand side of the screen will now be at the top, above the Search ads. There is more to follow but the support is there for an agency to ensure a client is ready for the switch.
The day ended with networking opportunities and the chance to ask further questions. These Google Partners events are exactly what they set out to be: both educational and inspirational. I’m looking forward to the next event already.