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What It’s Like to Work in Digital Marketing in 2022.

We recently sat down with some of the newest members of the team to find out what they think about the industry so far, and what their advice would be for individuals looking to land their first gig in digital.

First up, SEO Executive, Charlotte Agg gives first-hand insight into her experience.

Starting out. 

Starting a career was difficult initially due to graduating at the start of the pandemic. I had secured a Psychology degree from university but most workplaces had a recruitment freeze or were working remotely. But this did give me the time to step back and really think about what my hopes were for my future career.

With a large overlap of knowledge from my degree and a passion for all things creative, I decided to discover a little more about the marketing industry by:

  • Completing free online marketing courses on Future Learn
  • Securing an E-mentor to learn about the industry (Rich Sutherland at sobananapenguin)
  • Networking with like-minded graduates starting their marketing careers
  • 3-month social media internship at Hull University Business School
  • 6-month Kickstart scheme as a marketing executive and team leader

 

By gradually building up my experience like this, not only did I learn more about the industry, but I also discovered which areas I enjoyed the most. In my last role as a marketing executive, I gained a lot of experience in on-page and content SEO and found that I really loved this type of work. This opened up my eyes to the world of digital media, and ultimately lead me to my role as an SEO executive at Uprise Up.

A day in the life. 

My day always starts the same.  With a nice hot cup of tea and organising my client work priorities for the day.

Working in an agency means my time is spent on multiple tasks across multiple clients. Often 3-4 different ones each day, so time management and organisation are some key survival skills for the role. We also have a lot of internal and client meetings, as clear and effective communication is key for driving projects forwards and achieving client goals.

As an SEO executive, my day-to-day covers a huge range of tasks. From keyword research, to running technical audits of websites to creating optimised copy for landing pages. I find it really fulfilling to be able to work on projects for charities that develop over time and see them through to completion.

 

Recommended networks and communities.

My go-to network for connecting with professionals outside of the company is Girls in Marketing. It’s an e-learning platform aimed at bridging the digital skills gap and equalising gender seniority in the marketing industry. I find it’s full of like-minded women who share experiences and support each other to develop professionally. This is also the platform I first heard about Uprise Up on, as one of their employees mentioned a job opening they had at the time here.

I also find free online learning resources are a great place to network. Many of them have comments for discussion throughout their courses. I’ve found these areas to be rather great as you can have brilliant conversations with other digital marketers. You are exposed to many different opinions and view points which is great to challenge your way of thinking about digital.

 

Advice for those looking to pursue a career in digital.

My main advice is to keep tackling small steps to get closer to your goals and to make sure you are always learning. The digital landscape evolves so quickly, keeping up to date with the latest trends or tools helps keep your work at the forefront of industry best practices. No matter how small, whether you study a full digital media course or are simply engaging in some online digital marketing communities. All the little steps eventually add up to help you forge your career path in digital.

 

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    Paid Media Developments In July.

    The New Release of Microsoft Ads for Social Impacts. 

    Microsoft has launched ‘Ads for Social Impact’, similar to the Google Ad Grant, which is offering approved nonprofits upwards of $3,000 USD in a monthly grant. 

    Its goal is to help non-profits grow awareness, attract new donors and volunteers and accelerate mission outcomes. Interestingly, the grant can be used across all Microsoft products allowing activity not just on Bing but Yahoo, AOL, Outlook.com, MSN, and Microsoft Edge. 

    Last year Microsoft launched something similar in the US – a 50% discount for the first 100 eligible non-profit applicants, but it looks like this was scrapped in favour of the full grant model. This new scheme will currently be offered to non-profits in Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States only, but this may expand in the future.

     The end goal of Microsoft Ads for Social Impact is very much the same as the Google Ad grant but it differs in the terms of the monetary value awarded. 

    Google offers Ad Grants $10,000 per month, Microsoft states the value will start at $3,000, but has not stated if there is a maximum they will award; this could potentially supersede Google’s $10,000. Also, this has not been substantiated yet, it has been suggested that Microsoft grant ads can compete much more equally with paid ads, compared to Google grant ads. 

    We will continue to monitor any differences and performance highlights of the new Ads for Social Impact campaign. 

     

    Brogan Carroll, Paid Media Analyst 

     

    More countries make Google Analytics Illegal. 

    Italy has become the latest country to ban Google Analytics, following France, Austria, and more earlier in the year. The Italian SA has cited the USA as being “a country without an adequate level of data protection”, and as such stated the transference of data between Italy and the USA as breaking Article 44 of the GDPR. In Italy’s case, they deemed an IP Address to be personal data and so with Google able to read this (even if abbreviated) alongside other data, this processing has been declared unlawful.

    This is effectively the same conclusion drawn by the Austrian and French data protection agencies. This could then suggest that while Universal Analytics is Google’s primary source of analytics, more European countries could make similar decisions, something likely to create big problems in the analytics area.

    It’s also worth noting however, that these decisions currently only apply to Universal Analytics; with Google’s move to GA4 next year, these decisions may no longer be relevant but this is yet to be seen. 

    Ross Stratford, Paid Media Executive 

     

    The Switch from Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) to Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) is in Full Force. 

    On June 30th 2022, in their move towards automation, Google began sunsetting expanded text ads (ETAs), no longer allowing for creation, or editing of the ad type.

    Although we can no longer edit ETAs, we don’t expect the change to have too drastic an effect on our clients, and we have been ensuring that we have made the changes required in the lead up to the deadline.

    Moreover, while ETAs will continue to be delivered, we do expect them to naturally be faded out in favour of responsive search ads (RSAs), a trend we have already seen the beginnings of in the graph below:

     

     

    All Uprise Up Managed Grant Accounts

    As mentioned in our blog on the topic, while RSAs can be more time consuming to create, they can lead to better performance, whether that’s click through rates or conversion rates. We will continue to monitor the impact of the move away from ETAs, as well as continuing to ensure all ad groups contain RSAs with high Ad strengths.

    Lucy Goodyear, Paid Media Assistant 

     

    Google Auto-Apply Dynamic Extensions. 

    The trend of Google making automatic changes in paid accounts looks set to continue. Earlier this month we noticed that in one of our clients’ accounts, there was an issue where a sitelink was taking users to the wrong URL. After a lot of digging, we learnt that the sitelink had automatically been set up by Google. This was a result of Google launching Auto Apply Dynamic Extensions, a change that was introduced a few months ago. The list of automated dynamic extensions includes dynamic sitelinks, dynamic callouts, dynamic structured snippets and longer ad headlines.

    Having these dynamic extensions switched on takes away the control from the advertiser and grants Google the freedom to apply changes that may negatively impact your account. It goes without saying that granting Google all of the power to decide on the messaging and URL of sitelinks extensions creates a risk of brand image being adversely affected.

    As a result, we’ve been switching off most text-based dynamic extensions for our client to take back control. We have been opting to keep in the Dynamic Seller Rating, App, Location and Image Extensions for now though. 

    To update these settings yourself, navigate to Ads and Extensions then click ‘Extensions’, scroll down to the bottom to ‘Automated Extensions’. Then click ‘More’ and ‘Advanced Settings’.

    In similar news, Google also recently sent around an email letting some advertisers know that certain accounts will switch over to data-driven attribution models automatically. In most situations opting for data-driven is a sensible choice, but it seems odd to switch over advertisers by default, when the other 5 attribution options still exist. It’s easy enough to turn off this auto-apply feature, and we certainly would advise looking into how this change may affect your results, and review what is best for you; not what Google tells you is best. 

    Max Leslie-Smith, Paid Media Executive 

     

    LinkedIn Ads Introduce Business Manager.

    Earlier in June, LinkedIn Announced, at long-last, the introduction of a Business Manager. Similar to Facebook Business Manager (introduced in 2014!) this provides a centralised hub to manage all business assets such as your company pages and ad accounts, and easily provide access to users who need it. It also provides the ability to share ‘Matched Audiences’ (remarketing) across Ad Account contained within BM.

    This might seem like a relatively small addition in the world of Social Advertising, but is a real boon for both agencies and advertisers working with agencies themselves, due to the vast improvement this will bring to gaining access and working across accounts. 

    Previously, user-access had to be arranged individually by providing one’s personal LinkedIn profile, and also required different levels of access for pages and ad accounts. This created issues down the line if then other team members (new or existing) also wanted to quickly review an account and hadn’t previously gone through the process of being added.

    Business Manager has started rolling out but doesn’t appear to be available to all advertisers just yet, with no confirmed launch date. We will be looking out for any updates but ultimately look forward to being able to work more seamlessly on this more niche, but very powerful platform.

    Will Rhodes, Paid Media Manager 

     

    Were there any other recent digital developments that caught your attention? Feel free to tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page.

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      SEO Highlights in July 2022

      Yep, there’s a new search engine on the block!

      Ahrefs has delivered on its 2019 pledge to deliver a private and creator-friendly search engine. As promised this endeavour, designed to compete with the global giant Google, has two key features it proposes will set it apart from competitors:

       

      • Privacy: Yep has been set up so that it does not automatically collect and store your personal information as you are surfing the web.

       

      They will collect data on keywords, language preference received from the browser and approximate geographical area, but will not use this information to create a personal profile for targeted advertising.

       

      • Profit-Sharing: Ahrefs have proposed a 90/10 profit model for their search engine, meaning that 90% of advertising profits will be going into the pockets of content publishers.

       

      This is in direct contrast to Google, who often display content in their search results in such a way that means users don’t have to click through to the website to get the answer they are looking for. This means less site traffic for content creators – and less traffic often equals less revenue overall.

       

      Search listing for Uprise Up Digital Media on the Ahrefs search engine results page

       

      Despite some distinct differences from Google in terms of privacy and socially positive profit sharing, Yep still has a long way to go before it can become a real competitor.  The search engine itself presents results in a basic format still, looking very similar to original SERPs with just 10 blue links.

       

      Options are also currently restricted to web or news pages. However, there is the promise of an image index being close to delivery in July, which will bring Yep one step closer to being a serious alternative to other main search engines such as Google or Bing.

       

      Search Console is Being Simplified: Wave Goodbye to ‘Warnings’.

      The most recent changes to Google Search console labels aim to simplify the interface, allowing users to more easily focus on warnings that will be of immediate threat to their content rankings in search results.

      The old reports had three categorisations for URLs: Valid, Error and Valid with warning. This change affects the ‘valid with warning’ category. Whilst it was clear that valid URLs were okay and that error URLs had critical issues that needed addressing, there has always been a level of confusion about how critical these ‘valid with warning’ URL issues were, and whether these bits of content would still appear properly in SERPs.

       

      A report showing website warnings in search console

       

      In response, Google Search Console will now present items as ‘valid’ or ‘invalid’ at a top-level. This is to help businesses ‘focus on critical issues that affect your visibility in search’ and enable a better prioritisation of fixes.

       

       

      Search Console Insights Now Supporting GA4.

      Whilst we’re on the topic of Search Console, it’s great to see that Google Search Console Insights is now supporting Google Analytics 4 properties. Previously, Search Console Insights were only compatible with Universal Analytics (UA) properties. This marks another step towards GA4 taking the lead once UA is sunset in June 2023.

       

      What is Search Console Insights?

      Search Console Insights use data to help content creators and publishers better understand how their content is performing with audiences. Some of the insights it can provide include:

       

      • Best performing content pieces
      • New content performance
      • How people discover your content online
      • What people search for on Google before visiting your content
      • Which article refers to your website and content

       

      You can access this feature via the ‘Search Console Insights’ section at the top of the overview page in your Search Console property.

       

      Tips on using Search Console Insights with GA4.

      Make sure to link your GA4 property with your Google Search Console property, as otherwise you may only see 20% of possible content insights.

      Also, remember to check your Search Console Insights regularly, as the data is frequently updated so regular checks will help you keep on top of new and emerging trends.

       

      Google bot crawling the first 15 mb of page content.

      An update to the GoogleBot help documentation states that only the first 15MB of HTML files will be crawled and considered for indexing by Google. Anything after this point will not be used when calculating ranking positions.

      The documentation states that ‘Googlebot can crawl the first 15MB of an HTML file or supported text-based file. Any resources referenced in the HTML such as images, videos, CSS, and JavaScript are fetched separately’. This suggests that the 15MB cut-off will only apply to HTML.

       

      How does this impact SEO?

      This new documentation means that high priority content needs to be included closer to the top of webpages in order to be weighted in ranking calculations. Images and videos should also be compressed instead of encoded directly into the HTML where possible.

       

      What does Google have to say about the 15MB limit?

      In response to a lot of questions from the wider SEO community surrounding this documentation update, Google published a blog addressing the 15MB limit directly. They emphasised that this is not a new threshold; it has been around for several years now. The update to the GoogleBot documentation was aimed at helping people when debugging.

      It is also important to note that 15MB is actually rather a large amount of HTML. In fact, Google said in the majority of HTML files are only around 30KB, and there are a minimal number of pages online that are close to the 15MB cut-off point. So this update to GoogleBot crawling and ranking most likely won’t affect most site content, but is good to be aware of.

       

      Did we miss any SEO news?

      Have we missed any of your key SEO highlights from our round-up? Or do you have any burning questions about how to implement effective SEO for your organisation?

      We’d love to hear from you!

      Join the conversation and tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page.

       

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        Preparing for Google Analytics 4.

        In March, Google dropped a data bombshell by announcing it will be removing all previous analytic formats such as Universal Analytics (UA). From June 2023, for most organisations, the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will be the only viable interface with which to continue collecting data.

        To rub salt into the wound, Google then followed up by announcing it will be deleting all data predating GA4 from Google Analytics in January 2024. 

        Focusing on the more immediate issue, we’re now less than 12 months away from when Universal Analytics will stop recording data. The clock is ticking.

        At this stage we are advising to get GA4 up and running asap and also keep it running in parallel with Universal Analytics. This way there will be plenty of comparable data between the two, before UA is turned off.

        Have you started preparing for the move? Is Google Analytics 4 still fairly new to you? In this blog, we’re unpacking exactly what GA4 is, how it differs from previous interfaces, and our tips to successfully make the move without jeopardising any data during the migration process.

        A little side note: this article covers setting up from a more advanced, technical perspective. This will most likely beneficial for those in roles that involve managing websites, analytics such as analysts and web managers.

        What is Google Analytics 4?

        Interestingly, GA4 isn’t a completely new interface but a newer iteration of what was initially called ‘Google Analytics web+app’. The drive behind this new interface originated from the need for Data Analysts and Digital Marketers to view data in one central port.

        Users typically move between apps and websites as they interact with various brand touchpoints, meaning data is created across many different mediums which can be difficult to capture in its entirety, hence the need for a more holistic interface.

        With a growing focus on privacy in the industry, Google sought to develop more complex systems for ‘cookieless’ measurement, and behavioural and conversion modelling. 

        In Google’s own words, “GA4 is designed for the future of measurement”.

         

        How is this different from previous versions?

        • Events 

        This ‘app data’ focus really separates the way GA4 works from ‘Universal Analytics’ (UA). At its core Google Analytics collected data through sessions and pageviews. But apps don’t have pages, and people use them in very different ways to a typical ‘session’ on a website. 

        So this is where the key difference comes in, GA4 records everything as an event. Event-based tracking allows for greater insights to be derived about users and their interactions. Admittedly, as experienced users of Universal Analytics, we’ve found this to be the hardest part to adjust to due to familiarity. 

        The move to event-based tracking allows GA to automatically track the majority of engagement events marketers have been used to manually setting up themselves. Now with the click of a button, marketers can automatically track ‘automatic enhancements’ such as: scroll tracking, outbound links, site search tracking, video engagements and file downloads.

        • Goals are No More 

        In what feels like a move to better align language, ‘Goals’ are no more in GA4, ‘Conversions’ will  replace them. The process for making conversions has also been simplified in comparison to how you would have previously setup a ‘Goal’. Now you will easily be able to turn an event into a conversion, without having to remember the exact ‘event label’ and ‘event category’ you have used! The move to event-based tracking does mean that destination url goals will be confined to history, and not make the port into conversions. These goals will need to be switched over to events when ported across into your new property. 

        • A New Interface 

        The new analytics format also brings with it a new User Interface (UI). This replaces the old interface  more visually inline with some of Google’s other products. This feels like an underlying theme in the more ‘front-end’ heavy changes you will experience with GA4, bringing one of Google’s old products inline with its growing product range.

        There are changes to the default data retention period, shortening from effectively infinite retention to 2 months by default. This only affects user-level data (associated with cookies and advertising identifiers) so won’t impact basic reports, but will limit data reporting for any custom reports in the ‘Explore’ section. This change will likely see a reasonable difference when comparing repeat visitor reports between the two analytics types. Something to keep an eye out for.

        GA4 also sees the ‘views’ function being removed. At a property level, you now add each website and app as a data stream. All settings that you would previously have set at a view level are now either property-level (IP filtering, conversions etc.) or view report-level filtering (domains etc.).

        How to make the move:

        Over time you will want to develop your use of more specific GA4 features but in the meantime the priority should be getting data collected, and in a way which is readily usable for fellow members of the marketing team and your organisation.

        Here we detail our process that we have been using with our clients. But it is worth noting that our process includes two assumptions:

        • You have an existing Google Analytics account (using Google Analytics Universal Analytics).
        • You are using Google Tag Manager on your website to trigger your Google Analytics.

        On this basis we have a 5 step process:

        1. Audit your existing Google Analytics data and goal setup
          1. You have the opportunity to start from scratch without any legacy issues. So this means you can leave old views and goals behind.
          2. When auditing the goals our checks cover 4 key elements:
            1. Is it still relevant to you?
            2. Is it working correctly?
            3. Is it recording data?
            4. Is it transferable to GA4?
          3. Get a second opinion. Before you decide to leave a goal behind, just make sure no one else is currently using this in their reporting.

        This gives you a thorough understanding of what your data recording situation is and the scale of work needed for your migration to GA4.

        1. Now you can create your new GA4 property
          1. Google Analytics has a great wizard to help you (at a top-level) create a new GA4 property from your existing Universal Analytics property.
          2. Create new data streams for each website or app that you will be using the new property for. You will find, for each data stream you get a new set of pretty useful settings, as well as extra reporting uses.
          3. Make sure you match up some key settings for each data stream such as IP filters, with your corresponding settings in UA. So you can keep the data as actionable as possible without diluting with internal traffic sources (like employee site visits). 
          4. This is also the place to enable automatic enhancements. Which we would definitely recommend doing (for beneficial reasons mentioned above in the events section)
        2. Then head on over to Google Tag Manager, and enable your new GA4 configuration tag.
          1. Copy across your new measurement ID and enable this tag to fire a pageview.
          2. Then utilise the same triggers as you currently use on your existing Universal Analytics pageview tag.
            1. Do make sure to use the exact same triggers as you currently use, including any connected to your cookie control management.
          3. Data streams can take 24 hours to start showing data coming in so you will need to wait a day (or two) to check the data is coming in accurately.
        3. Now that data is coming into the property, head over to the events report and check how many of your old goals are being automatically reported by GA4’s new events report.
          1. For any events which are not yet being pulled through, you will need to create new GA4 Event tag in Google Tag Manager.
          2. For the new GA4 tags, you just need to mirror the existing UA tags, but with the new GA4 Events tags. This means, utilising the same triggers (including any cookie consent requirements).
          3. We always recommend previewing and testing those events before publishing the tags on site – just in case.
          4. Then as before, wait around a day to see if that date is now pulling into the event report.

        Once your old goals are pulling into the event report it’s time to ‘upgrade’ some of those organisationally important ones into conversions.

        If you are currently using ecommerce tracking through Google Tag Manager then you may be able to port across to GA4 with limited technical support. GA4 ecommerce utilises events too, in specific, any event which is named ‘purchase’ GA4 will deem as Ecommerce and pull that data into its ecommerce report.

        GA4 does come with more sophisticated ecommerce tracking, as standard it is similar to UA’s enhanced ecommerce. Currently you can’t utilise GA4 ecommerce (fully) and UA ecommerce, at the same time and we definitely wouldn’t suggest binning your UA ecommerce yet. As a compromise, you can gain the same data as standard GA4 ecommerce into GA4 through a couple of custom variables. Truthfully this will be enough for most people, for now.

        1. GA4 in tag manager utilises the ‘data layer’s’ “purchase event” push. So you will need to adjust your trigger to utilise a ‘purchase’ event.
        2. You then need to create some new custom variables in order to translate your existing datalayer into the relevant information for GA4. Then pull them into a new GA4 tag, so they look like this:

         

        A snapshot of configuration on Google Analytics 4

        • In our experience the currency code is necessary to feed that data into the GA4, although (at the time of writing) this is currently missing from Google’s own support pages. In our tests, without it the value data fails to push to GA4.
        • As always, you should then go into preview mode and run a test donation to check that the new ‘parameter names’ contain the relevant information. 

        This should cover the essentials for you right now. As you go about the port to GA4 we recommend utilising preview mode on Google Tag Manager as much as possible, to ensure that you can see any issues prior to publishing.

        If you do encounter any issues or want to talk through getting some support on your migration to GA4 drop us a message, we’d be happy to answer any questions, chat through the process, or see how else we can help.

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          The Explainer Series: Featured Snippets.

          Back in 2014 we first witnessed the introduction of featured snippets by Google, fast forward eight years, they have proven to provide a highly advantageous way to get content in front of searchers.

          In this explainer series we will be taking a deep dive into different types of digital media and exploring how they work. In this blog we’re focusing on featured snippets, read on for an overview of how they work and how content can be optimised to feature in them.

          What exactly are featured snippets and how do they work?

          Featured snippets are the highlighted excerpts of content that appear at the top of a Google results page (above traditional organic results). This is known as position 0.

          The featured snippet answer is taken directly from a website and displayed directly in the search results. The answers most likely to appear will be content that both answers the query concisely and with as much detail as possible.

          Essentially, Google prioritises the website that it thinks best answers the search query. This information can be displayed as paragraphs, lists, step by step instructions or even tables!

          A screenshot of a featured snippets search query

          Optimising content for featured snippets.

          To stand a chance at ranking for featured snippets, it is super important to optimise your content so that it directly answers queries. The more you can put across your answer in a natural, verbal tone the higher your chances of being picked to take the featured snippet position.

          One way we would advise you to do this is by meeting the nature of conversational language, by ensuring you are incorporating longtail keyword approaches into your SEO strategies.

          A great example of how you can achieve this is through utilising FAQs. You can create content around the exact question users are searching for followed by a direct response.

          You can then optimise these FAQs further by wrapping them in FAQ schema (a structured data vocabulary that helps search engines better understand the information on your website) to further enhance their chances of appearing in the SERPs.

           

          A screenshot of a search query in Google asking how to do good keyword research

           

          How to know what search terms trigger featured snippets.

          There are tools available such as SEM Rush which can help identify featured snippet opportunities. You can see at keyword level which Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features are present when that particular phrase is searched for in Google.

          SEM Rush can also be utilised to see which featured snippet queries your competition has secured.

          We would suggest starting by first, identifying what keyword is triggering a featured snippet that you already have content on.

          Have a good look at the format of the result and how it’s being displayed (is it a table, paragraph, bullets, lists? etc). Then optimise the content you have around this query to ensure it is directly answering the question and is displayed in the same way.

           

          When your focus shouldn’t be on taking position 0.

          If you are already ranking in the top 3 positions of Google, we wouldn’t actively suggest trying to gain the featured snippet position. They’re not always 100% reliable, one day a featured snippet could be appearing for a search query, the next it’s gone.

          We would instead suggest focusing on remaining in the top 3 search positions as a key priority. The brand ranking can also change frequently so you could have position 0 for a week then in the following it’s switched to someone else in your niche.

          This can also result in loosing your organic ranking, which would be the priority as it will ultimately provide greater return.

          However, if you are ranking further down on the results page, then trying to increase the amount of organic traffic to your site by optimising for position 0 would be a great move.

          So, there you have it. If you want to appear in featured snippets, you know what to do.

          If you’d like further advice on this topic or some assistance with your current SEO strategy feel free to get in touch through our contact form or you can email us directly at [email protected].

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            Dynamic Search Ads – A Powerful Tool For Google Ad Grants

            laptop on standby resting on desk at Uprise Up office.

            Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) are similar to standard search ads but instead of defining keywords, they are created automatically, based on the contents of your website or business product feed; and use this to match users’ search queries to your site. 

            They’re also different from regular text ads due to the ad headline being dynamically created by Google rather than manually inputted. 

            We’d usually prefer more manual control in ads, breaking campaigns into careful granular ad groups.

            However, Google Ad Grants are often focused on informational campaigns, where a significant amount of website content needs to be promoted. As these campaigns aren’t often directly revenue-driven, there might be limited time and resources that can be allocated to them. Here automation can be invaluable.

             

            Why they’re a great tool for Google Ad Grants

            For charities that are running the Google Ad Grant scheme, and may not be fully utilising their available budget, need new keyword ideas, or have frequent content being published but limited time to set up new ads, RSAs can be a great tool.

            Below we delve into this in more detail and explore the good (and not so) bad of these often unnoticed bad boys.

            The benefits of DSAs:

            • They’re time savers

            Dynamic Search Ads are predominantly created through automated systems, which requires less time to be spent on generating new ads. 

            It’s worth noting because of the less focused nature of DSAs (and the fact that higher priority traffic campaigns will likely already be set up in the account) they’re likely to not generate as strong results in return.  However, they can still be a valuable tool for creating additional traction to awareness-focused content. 

            • Creation is easier 

            With this type of ad campaign, less manual input is required due to the way headlines are dynamically created based on the product or service being matched to the search query. 

            Meaning there is less manual input required making creation a whole lot easier. 

             

            • They can help identify keyword and content gaps

            DSAs can be a strong tool for filling in keyword gaps and identifying search terms that you’re not already targeting. 

            Usually, gaps can occur by having an unintentional keyword blind spot.

            Regularly reviewing your Dynamic Search Ad campaign, allows you to be able to easily identify these loopholes and find new keywords that your content is being matched for that aren’t already targeting intentionally. 

            You can then bank these keywords and integrate them in campaigns elsewhere which will allow you to better optimise them. 

            Similarly, it can help uncover content gaps in your account, allowing you to then set up new ads based on popular landing pages that haven’t previously been promoted in the account.

             

            They can help budgets to be fully utilised

            The Google Ad Grant enables non-profits to spend up to $10,000 each month, or $330 per day but it may not always be possible to spend this. For example, if your account is relatively new, or you have been struggling with new keyword ideas (as above). DSAs can help make the most of any unused spend and therefore generate additional traffic and conversions.

             

            When DSAs are perhaps less favourable:

            Budget is limited and you want tighter control over performance

            As we briefly touched on above, Dynamic Search Ads may not be a great fit for all digital marketing strategies. Particularly in cases where budgets are tighter and you want more control over your account.

            If you have very clear conversion-based goals, we would always advise opting for the traditional ad set-up approach first, in order to get the best performance for your priority pages. 

            Limited control over messaging 

            The dynamic headline element of this kind of ad campaign is a great benefit but it can also present challenges due to reducing the control you have on targeting and messaging. 

            As the dynamic feature relies on the search systems understanding the content and matching this with the user’s search, it can result in displaying information from your website that isn’t as relevant perhaps as a different page or area of the site for that particular search query.

            The pre-defined descriptions also may not be as tailored to the ad as you would like.

             

            Extra considerations to be mindful of when using DSAs

            We’ve been using Dynamic Search Ad campaigns on behalf of our charity clients for some time now and here’s what we’ve learned along the way:

            • Breaking down ad group targeting into different sections of a site, to see how each performs individually will allow you to gather effective learnings more easily. Particularly in areas like new keywords to target or the performance of landing pages. 

            DSAs can be highly beneficial here, as they can allow you to quickly (by automatically generating ads) leverage any new content coming out.

             

            •  As well as being able to target specific sections of your site, you can also remove areas of your site for targeting using ‘Negative Dynamic Targets’. This gives you an extra level of control when using DSA campaigns. An example of this would be  promoting the careers section of your site is not a priority.

             

            •  We would advise keeping a close eye on your Negative Keywords, as a measure to prevent cannibalising traffic from the same keywords in other campaigns. Sometimes existing keywords in your account could be matched to a page on your site that you’re not already using. We often see this with brand keywords. 

             

            • It’s really important to frequently monitor the search terms reports, but as a safety net, we would suggest setting up a Negative Keyword list for all of your priority terms and applying it to your DSA.

             

            • A final tip: we often use the targeting option of using landing pages from your standard ‘ad groups’ as a good way of finding new, relevant keywords for ads and campaigns that are already running.

             

            If you’d like to find out more about how to get to grips with Dynamic Search Ads, or would like some assistance with your Google Ad Grant, drop us a line at [email protected] or fill out our contact form.

            If you found this blog to be useful, subscribe to our newsletter where we often delve into how charities can maximise their digital media.  

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              SEO Developments in May-June 2022

              Typing on laptop on a desk with notebooks on the table and plants in the background.

              From the Core Algorithm Update to Multisearch adopting augmented reality here’s the noteworthy SEO developments from May and June.

               

              Google May 2022 Core Algorithm Update

              Google formally announced a core ranking update for May 2022, but were characteristically vague on it’s purpose, (which is what we now expect from Google).

              Measuring tools and data identified a strong amount of volatility in organic rankings initially, (within the first 24hours of the announcement), although this appeared to level out quickly after a day or two.

              We are currently gathering data and coming together with the wider SEO community to develop a better understanding and compare learnings. We’ll let you know if as / and when we get any more clarity on how Google are looking to impact SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) rankings .

              For an in-depth guide of what to look out for with core algorithm updates and how to react if you’re impacted take a look at our deep-dive into the Core Algorithm Update for May 2022.

               

              Developments in Multisearch

              Later this year Google will be expanding the multisearch feature to gain the support of the ‘near me’ function, this function will allow people to take pictures or screenshots to match places, stores and array of businesses for ‘near me’ type queries via Google Maps and Google Search.

              In addition to this, the new ‘scene exploration’ feature in multisearch will enable people to pan their phone cameras across the view in front of them and gain insights about multiple objects in the scene. This use of augmented reality is pulling us one step closer to the ‘metaverse’ setting that could be the possible future of search.

               

              How will multisearch impact SEO?  

              Multisearch won’t necessarily have an immediate influence on how SEOs need to optimise content, that is if you are already following SEO best practices. This idea is supported further by John Muller’s thoughts on the impact of multisearch for SEO:

               

              “…if your content is findable in search, if you have images on your content and those images are relevant, then we can guide people to those images or to your content using multiple ways.”

               

              In response to this, it may be a good idea to conduct an SEO audit of your site to make sure your content is optimised and indexable so that Google can find and serve your content in multisearch results.

               

              Google’s training contributing to SEO misinformation

              Google ruffled some feathers last month by presenting some guidance many considered questionable in their Digital Marketing Training Course.

               

              contents of keyword stuffing training material

               

              Industry professionals were quick to identify some questionable SEO advice suggested by Google, including the 300 words plus for content length and ‘industry standard’ of 2% keyword density.

              It’s not uncommon for advice on these areas to vary between individuals, however, a basic point that seems to have been missed here is that content is very subjective.

               

              The ‘correct’ volumes and density of keywords is completely dependent on the type of content, format, audience, industry, and end goals – an immeasurable number of factors in fact.

              To the relief of many, Google has since removed this ‘keyword research and keyword stuffing’ section from its course and the takeaway very much is that a focus on quality of content is key.

               

              Did we miss any SEO new?

              Do you have some thoughts to share on the impact of the May 2022 core update? Or do you have any questions about how to implement effective SEO for your organisation?

              We’d love to hear from you!

              Join the conversation and tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page.

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                Google Core Algorithm Updates: The ‘Need to Knows’

                person holding a smart phone with Google on the home screen

                With Google announcing at the end of May that it will be rolling out its first broad core algorithm update in 2022, we thought it would be a timely opportunity to give our fellow marketers a heads up on exactly what core updates are and what to do if you’re impacted.

                For now, it appears as though the impact of this specific update has been minimal and Google hasn’t released too much further insight in terms of what was targeted specifically.  

                First things first, what exactly are broad core algorithm updates?

                In short a broad core algorithm update is a change to Google’s ‘core’, or overall, search ranking algorithm and systems. 

                Core updates are global, they target all types of content and affect all countries and languages. 

                The important thing to note is that core updates exist to reward or promote great web pages, they do not exist to penalise. In theory, this is a positive, but it doesn’t totally rule out experiencing a dip in search ranking.

                The silver lining is that we know the user experience is at the heart of Google’s decision-making, so we can assume that regardless of the priorities, the outcomes will likely be related to improving the content users are served.

                The SEO impact of Core Updates

                Like all Google core algorithm updates, there will be sites that benefit in ranking and those that unfortunately see a fall. During the rollout of the update, there will be ranking fluctuations and this is totally normal. As a rule of thumb, It is best to wait it out and receive confirmation that the update has finished rolling out before taking action. 

                If you have seen a ranking increase for your target keywords then congrats, Google has rewarded your site. 

                If your rankings have dropped, then the first place to look is at your content. 

                In some cases, Google may give pointers as to what the update consisted of with some tips on what to do to improve. 

                Initial advice directly from Google for the May update can be visited here.

                What you should do if you’re impacted by a Core Update

                If the update negatively impacted your site, we recommend taking stock of your current content and asking yourselves a few key questions:

                • What is the purpose of the content on this page? 
                • What target keyword do you want it to rank for?
                • What is the search intent behind this keyword?
                • Does the content meet this intent?
                • Is the content optimised as best as it can be?
                • What is the readability like? Is it one block of content or are you using headings and subheadings to break it up so it’s more digestible?
                • Has your content been written by a credible thought leader or author? We would advise citing sources where possible.
                • Are other websites likely to want to reference your content from their website?

                Once you have audited your content and have made updates using the guidelines above we would also advise that you remember to submit the page URLs you have updated to Google Search Console for indexing. 

                This should hopefully speed up the process of Google crawling these pages and allow the content to start being tested more in the search results.

                If you are worried about a significant drop in traffic, it’s best to speak to an SEO expert who can give some further insights into what could have caused this drop. But remember, the first place to look is always your content!  

                Feel free to drop us a message if you’d like to talk about the update in more detail, or get some advice on improving your search ranking.

                 If you’d like exclusive access to our digital media tips sign up for our newsletter, where we debrief the most pressing digital developments monthly. 

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                  Getting acquainted with our plastic usage

                  Earlier this month the UK’s biggest plastic investigation took place.

                  Generally speaking, most people do their bit to recycle, but we can’t escape the fact that plastic waste is still EVERYWHERE. To put this into perspective, the numbers suggest the UK throws away an estimated 295 billion pieces of plastic each year.

                  In a bid to prove that something has to give, we stepped up and played our part in Everday Plastic’s initiative (in partnership with Greenpeace UK): ‘The Big Plastic Count’. The cause was founded on the basis of pushing the government, brands, and supermarkets to tackle the plastic crisis once and for all. 

                  With each and every one of us at Uprise Up sharing the common value of seeking to make the world better, whether that materialises as a more progressive, more inclusive, or greener world, the cause really spoke volumes to us and really didn’t take much convincing for us to sign up.

                  The team had their tally sheets handy to make a conscious effort to track their individual use throughout the week and as a result, we got very acquainted with our plastic footprint. Below we hear a couple of personal accounts of the team’s experience. 

                  How we got on

                  “I usually try to be fairly conscious about minimising the amount of plastic I use and actively recycling where possible. However, going through the physicality of counting every single individual piece of plastic I used in a week was revealing. Participating in the initiative has revealed I am definitely using more plastic than I would have thought.

                  I realise that as well as reducing my overall consumption I also need to distribute efforts to paying more attention to the type of plastic I’m using. A substantial 66% of my weekly use included soft plastic, which is more difficult to recycle in comparison to hard plastics. Tallying my individual use has also made me more conscious of my shopping habits and the type of brands and products I usually lean towards. It’s been invaluable reflecting on the bigger picture I’ve been made more aware of how I can make better choices in my day-to-day usage.”

                  Charlotte Agg, SEO Assistant

                  I was pleasantly surprised with my results. It turns out I actually use a lot less plastic than I originally thought. I think this is largely down to the companies I purchase my produce from and the recent changes to their packaging that has been introduced in recent years. 

                  Most of my plastic usage came from fruit and veg packaging or individual ‘snack-type’ packaging, I found that even if a punnet of fruit was cardboard it always seemed to have a thin plastic film lid! 

                  Although my takings from the count have been positive, on reflection I feel even more encouraged to cut this down further and make a concerted effort to avoid purchasing plastic heavy products. In reality, this will look like opting for loose fruit and veg produce and adjusting to snack items that can be bulk purchased and then separated into smaller portions in my own reusable tupperware. ” 

                  Brogan Carroll, Paid Media Analyst

                   

                  Our group takeaways from participating look a little like this:

                   Have a cause you really care about? Drop us a message, we’d love to talk it over with you. 

                   

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                    SEO Updates for April and May 2022

                    April started spectacularly with Brighton SEO bringing together SEO enthusiasts from across the globe. We witnessed a great range of talks at the biannual beachside conference, covering everything from the fundamentals of search right through to the future of SEO in the ‘metaverse’. The weeks to follow have continued to offer several other interesting developments which we’re unpacking below. 

                    Google Released Annual Search Spam Report

                    In response to a world searching for ‘how to heal’, Google highlighted how they kept 99% of searches spam-free with significant improvements in fighting link spam, scam results, and ranking manipulation in their annual search spam report. 

                    Google also focussed on reducing low-quality content through identifying behaviours that manipulated search rankings. These behaviours would narrowly avoid violation of the quality guidelines but negatively impact user experience. With the help of their AI-based system SpamBrain, Google stated they were able to keep 99% of searches spam-free in 2021.

                    As ever, websites should follow best practice guidance and steer clear of ‘black hat’ SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing and product review manipulation, to avoid being penalised by Google’s spam algorithms. Producing high-quality, relevant content for your customers will always be the best way to help improve your search rankings. 

                    Google Search Parameter Tool Officially Offline

                    Back in March, Google announced it was going to retire the URL parameters tool, and this is the first month we can see it coming into effect. Google has now turned off support for the tool in Google Search Console. The decision was made by Google to turn off the tool due to the advancement in Google’s capabilities to decipher which parameters are useful on a site. With only a minute number of parameter configurations specified in the parameter tool deemed useful for crawling purposes, the tool was deemed unnecessary. 

                    Google has stated that ‘Google’s crawlers will learn how to deal with URL parameters automatically’ in the near future. We would suggest making a note of this update on your reports and keeping an eye on your analytics over the coming weeks just in case any issues arise from this change. 

                     

                    Significant Changes to Featured Snippets being Tested

                    Google has started some testing that may provide a major shake-up of the featured snippets section on SERPs. Our SEO Team certainly has a lot to say about these two new features:

                    ‘From the Web’: Traditionally, the featured snippet shown at the top is a table, a list, or a snippet of text with a link to the webpage the content comes from. For text snippets, Google is now testing short excerpts from two to three other websites in the same section, with links to the sites added after the sites’ favicons. 

                     

                    ‘Other Sites Say’: Google is planning to group at least three different sites under a new ‘Other Sites Say’ section, which shares some resemblance with the established ‘People also ask’ section. Again, this will provide more exposure for brands, but equally will create more competition in the top-ranking results. 

                      

                    What could this mean for search?

                    Sites that currently hold the featured snippet position for certain keywords could face a substantial loss of traffic as more competition enters position zero in SERPs. On the flip side, if you’re not currently featuring in any snippets, this update could increase your chances and improve traffic volume to your site. 

                    It will be very interesting to see the impact of these tests on clickthrough rate (CTR) and visibility in the search results, and whether these updates are rolled out temporarily or permanently. One to keep an eye on!

                    Google PaLM: The Future of Next Generation Search

                    This month Google revealed a breakthrough in its efforts to create an AI architecture that can handle millions of different tasks by itself. Enter PaLM.

                    What is PaLM?

                    Google’s Pathways Language Model research (PaLM) is an AI architecture Google has been developing. PaLM can produce answers reflective of fluctuating contexts by learning how to efficiently solve millions of different tasks, including complex learning and reasoning. 

                    What makes PaLM special?

                    PaLM is a system worth recognising as it’s striving to combine the efforts of multiple existing AI systems, into a singular architecture. To achieve this, recent developments of the PaLM system have involved the scaling of the few-shot learning (FSL) process. This is a type of machine learning method that works with a limited training dataset, as opposed to deep machine learning, where an extensive amount of data needs to be manually input for the AI to learn each new ability. Essentially, FSL has the AI learning so it can make predictions based on a smaller dataset.

                    Recently completed was the BIG-bench benchmark, where several tasks were designed to see how large language models, such as PaLM, responded. Of the 150 strong BIG-bench tasks (relating to reasoning, translation, and question answering), PaLM outperformed many of the current state-of-the-art models. There were many notable achievements on hundreds of language understanding and generation benchmarks, including: 

                     

                    • Enhanced reasoning abilities 
                    • Explanation generation 
                    • Inference Chaining

                     

                    This recent research shows PaLM delivers significant improvements compared to current AI systems and can even ‘outperform human benchmarks’ for certain elements of language processing and reasoning. However, humans still outperformed the new algorithm on 35% of tasks. So, whilst breakthroughs are being made, PaLM is not quite there yet. 

                    What could this mean for search?

                    Machine learning has a big impact on how search results are created, tailoring results more and more to the needs of the user. As PaLM seeks to consolidate all this machine learning into one AI system, the change to search may not be great. However, with capabilities in one place, it may mean Google can get an even greater understanding of the intent and needs of users when they use search engines. Either way, this is an update to keep an eye on.

                    Did we miss any SEO news?

                    Think we may have missed something worth exploring or if you have some thoughts you’d like to share on SEO developments? We’d love to hear from you! 

                    Join the conversation and tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page.

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                      Noteworthy paid media developments in April and May 2022

                      Staying on top of new digital tools, the latest channel updates, and user demands can be overwhelming, we know. Which is why we’ve assessed the latest paid media developments during April and May and put our heads together to evaluate what this means for the paid media landscape. 

                      Have your pad and pen ready (definitely worth taking note of), below our team of digital media specialists, share what the latest developments are and what this means for digital marketers. 

                       

                      New Custom Columns in Google Ads
                      Google recently announced some major updates to custom columns in Google Ads. The biggest change is the inclusion of functions. These operate much like functions in spreadsheets such as excel, and allow for a whole host of new uses for custom columns not possible before.

                      Alongside this change, Google has also added the ability to reference custom columns within formulas, allowing for custom columns to work off of each other. This is useful with the new options functions have unlocked. We are also now able to pull text elements like campaign or ad group name into the columns. 

                      These changes are very welcome, custom columns have until recently been mostly used to segment-specific conversions into a column for optimisation purposes. The options available for calculation within the columns were just not complete enough to allow for many more use cases. With these changes, however, there are many more situations where custom columns could be useful in optimising an account.

                      Reference: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/12041700?hl=en  

                      Dan Biggs, Paid Media Consultant 

                       

                      New Cookie Choices for Google in Europe

                      Google announced last month that they’ll be rolling out new cookie banners in Europe to anyone visiting Search or YouTube while signed out or in Incognito Mode. The update will give these users the additional option to ‘Reject All’ cookies:

                       

                      The update began with a roll out across France and will soon be introduced across the rest of the European Economic Area. 

                      This is a big change for Google, moving away from a design made to make it difficult for users to opt out of cookies. With a continued commitment to “building privacy-preserving tools”, Google believes they can protect people’s private data while also giving businesses the tools they need to thrive in their digital environment. One thing’s for certain, it will be interesting to find out how this is all going to work.

                      Matt Hekkink, Paid Media Analyst 

                       

                      Upgrades to Google Ads Extensions 

                      Starting this month, Google made some significant adjustments to ad extensions and upgraded all extension types (excluding image and location extensions).

                      So, what’s the difference? Well, it means there’s now a distinction between “extensions (upgraded)” and “extensions” for the new and existing extensions, making it clear which extensions are legacy and which will have the new features, allowing you to retain your historic data.

                      The new features include some very beneficial changes such as the ability to pause extensions, rather than outright removing them, and a “trickle-down” system for the different hierarchies of extensions.

                      This means that where previously higher-level extensions were limited by existing extensions at an ad group or campaign level, with the upgraded extensions all extensions can serve despite existing ones. For example, an Ad Group with existing sitelinks can now pull sitelinks from the Campaign or Account levels where they were previously restricted to just the Ad Group level extensions.

                       

                      These features are definitely a big improvement but it’ll definitely be worth checking that your high-level extensions match with all of your ads just to be safe.

                      Ross Stratford, Paid Media Assistant

                       

                      Updates to Google’s 3 strike system 

                      A new three strike disapproval rule is being implemented for google ads in June 2022 after being trialled in September 2021. The strike system will be for the following policies in particular: Enabling dishonest behaviour, Unapproved substances, Guns, gun parts and related products, Explosives, Other Weapons and Tobacco. A ‘strike’ will be added to your account if a policy is repeatedly broken. 

                      First Disapproval

                      The first stage will just be a warning and will result in a normal ad disapproval. Google wants to be fair and make sure that everyone is aware of the policy rules before they start blocking accounts. 

                      Strike One

                      The first strike will come if google deems policy to have been broken again within 90 days of the first warning disapproval, in this case there will be a full account block for three days in which no ads will be able to run. After three days the account will be enabled again but the offending ads will remain disapproved until they comply with policy.

                      Strike Two

                      The second strike is much like strike one but the whole account will be blocked for seven days, rather than three,  if google deems policy to have been broken again within 90 days of strike one.

                      Strike Three

                      The third strike is another violation within 90 days of strike two. This will result in the full suspension of your account and google doesn’t specify if there is any timeframe in which you will be allowed access to the account again.

                      You may appeal strikes but your ads won’t be able to show until either the block has been lifted and the appeal accepted or the temporary block time is over, you have fixed all policy violations in the account and completed an acknowledgement form. 

                      Whilst this may not affect many accounts it’s worth considering the reasons disapprovals may occur, we often have surprising disapprovals due to some content linked to the landing page we are promoting rather than the ads themselves, as there is now more at stake we recommend everyone keeping their eyes out for disapprovals and brushing up on the policies!

                      Reference: https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/10922738?hl=en-GB 

                      Brogan Carroll, Paid Media Analyst

                       

                      Meta have updated their Facebook Ad’s Manager Objectives

                      Meta have started rolling out changes to their Objectives in Ads Manager, or at least how their Objectives are named and grouped together. 

                      Prior to the change, there were 3 broad categories of Awareness, Consideration and Conversions, with then 12 sub-category Objectives across these e.g. Reach, Traffic, Catalogue Sales etc. With the changes, Meta have now consolidated this to 6 core Objectives, which they say are “grouped together based on their expected business outcome”. It’s important to clarify that:

                      • Objective names will change but you can still perform the same functions and access the features you’re familiar with.
                      • Campaigns created before the update will remain with the previous Objectives, so there is no need to change these manually.  

                      We think the most significant change to be aware of, is to how conversion-optimised campaigns are now set-up, as there are multiple ways to ultimately reach the same outcome. For example, you can optimise for website conversions under either of these 3 Objectives: Engagement, Leads, Sales, but will need to specify the correct ‘Conversion Location’ for each.  

                       

                      Engagement Objective: 

                      Leads Objective:

                       

                      More details on the changes can be found here.

                      Will Rhodes, Paid Media Manager 

                       

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                        How to successfully run responsive search ads (RSAs)

                        Not long ago Google announced the end of an era for expanded text ads. As of June 30th 2022, you will no longer be able to create or edit expanded text ads. 

                        The announcement surfaced last year and here at Uprise Up, we’ve been preparing our client’s accounts ever since. Introducing responsive search ads (RSAs) into each of our ad groups ahead of June 30th. To help you also get ahead and be fully prepared for the change, we’ve jotted down our top tips in this blog for running successful responsive search ads. 

                        First things first, what are responsive search ads?

                        Responsive search ads (RSAs) are another step in the direction towards automation from Google. Expanded text ads (ETAs) had a set of 3 headlines and 2 descriptions that are shown statically, whereas RSAs allow us to select up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions. Google then automatically tests the different combinations of these headlines and descriptions to give the user the ‘best’ performing combinations. 

                        Ok, so what are the potential benefits of RSAs?

                        • Improved performance. According to Google, advertisers that add RSAs to their ad groups achieve up to 10% more clicks and conversions. From our experience, we’ve also seen RSAs often out-perform existing ETAs when added into our accounts. 
                        • Increase ad relevance and reach. More headlines and descriptions mean Google can serve more relevant combinations to the user. With more keywords in your ad copy, you’ll be entered into more auctions for relevant searches. 
                        • They’re a time saver. Instead of needing to set up multiple variations of ETAs to test and learn, you only need the one responsive search ad which will test the combinations automatically.

                        One thing to note is that while Google’s auto suggestions can often be useful, they are equally often not so useful. We’d advise taking a cautious approach when applying these.

                        So, on the flip side, what are the potential downsides to RSAs?

                        • Less control. Your ability to specify how an ad is formatted and reads overall is limited, due to the nature of the machine learning testing various combinations. This may lead to headlines appearing together which don’t necessarily work well or make sense to a user, or for your brand.
                        • Reduced learnings. You cannot see as easily which headlines and descriptions have the best CTR and conversion rate, and therefore might work well outside of Paid Search.
                        • Can actually take more time to select headlines and descriptions that work well together, but are unique enough, while also assessing whether to make use of the pinning feature (discussed below) can actually be more time-consuming than creating a standard ETA.
                        • Beware of auto-suggestions. Google will be missing important context, so not all suggestions will be relevant.

                         

                        How to Run Responsive Search Ads Successfully

                        Top tip time:

                        • Include keywords in your headlines. To reach those good and excellent ad strengths you’ll need to make sure you have headlines relevant to your keywords. You can also use dynamic keyword insertions to insert your keyword into headlines, from experience this will help to optimise your ad strength. 
                        • Include unique headlines. To give Google the variation it needs to test and optimise your RSA, you’ll need to keep your headlines unique. Try using a variety of calls to action and offers to improve headline uniqueness. 
                        • Have a combination of short and long headlines. ‘Long’ headlines being within the 30 character cap.
                        • Use all the headline and description fields available. If you can aim to fill out all 15 headlines and 4 descriptions, at a minimum include 10 headlines. 
                        • Pay attention to ‘ad strength’. Google will offer you suggestions to improve the ad strength of your RSAs. You’ll want to get the ad strength up to at least “Good” but ideally aiming for “Excellent”.

                         

                        To pin or not to pin, that is the question.

                        Responsive search ads are far from perfect, we’ll still quite often see Google pair similar headlines together as the highest serving combination (e.g. two branded headlines rather than a branded headline and a CTA). There’s definitely still questions to be answered. 

                        Our biggest one is around the pinning feature. When setting up your RSA, you have the option to pin a headline or description so that they only appear in a certain position. While this sounds great (especially for controlling brand messaging), the ad strength of the ad is very much affected by the use of pinning. A lower ad strength may impact your achievable impressions share and your CPC, and may result in lower impressions/clicks as a result.

                        With that in mind, you may be wondering: 

                        • What is the actual impact of a lower ad strength on the total impressions?
                        • Does this impact outweigh the benefits of improved brand messaging?
                        • How do we best use pins to balance this impact?

                        Fortunately, we have sought-out to find the answers!

                         

                        What we’re testing

                        We’ve set up an experiment to test the pinning feature specifically. We’re running A/B experiments to test RSAs with no pinning, fully pinned, and a balance of pinning. 

                        Specifically one thing we’re testing, is how the number of pins effects ad strength. For example will pinning 4-5 headlines in a single headline position still allow for a stronger ad strength compared to 1-2? 

                        We’ll also be testing the impact of losing an ‘excellent’ ad strength in favour of pinning, looking at the effects on impression share against conversions. 

                         

                        We’ll be running this test over the next few months and look forward to sharing the results once they’re in.

                        Here’s some examples of the types of variations we’re testing:

                        Excellent

                         

                        Good

                        Average

                        Poor

                         

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