Welcome to the latest issue of our monthly newsletter which focuses on news, tips and advice for effective website marketing, with particular attention on Google and best practice search engine marketing techniques, plus current trends in the market.
This month we look at the recently launched Speed Scorecard from Google which helps website owners and marketers check the load time of popular websites on mobile, and how speed may impact revenue or conversion rate. We also look at message extensions in Google AdWords and the new reporting options being introduced which will help to provide better insights into the use of this option. Finally we look at Google’s changes to privacy and advertiser settings in the face of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which particularly impacts websites operating in the European market.
You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter by month. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest developments during the month, or follow our Facebook page or Google+ page for updates.
On to this month’s edition…
Google launches Speed Scorecard and Impact Calculator
At the end of February, Google announced the launch of their new mobile Speed Scorecard and Impact Calculator, which is an easy-to-use online tool that allows web marketers to compare their mobile website speed with other companies.
Google is continually extolling the virtues of a fast-loading website, to help the searcher experience as well as general usability of a website, and with mobile search now becoming the dominant form of search, the speed of a mobile website is vital. Slow loading sites can be a frustration for visitors, and a 2016 study by Google indicated that 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes more than three seconds to load.
The new Speed Scorecard tool shows the speeds of thousands of sites from 12 countries across the globe. Google generates the data from their Chrome User Experience Report, which is the largest database of real-user latency data for how Chrome users experience popular destinations on the web. However, not all sites will be included in this database so results for some sites can be patchy.
When it comes to mobile speed, Google recommends that a site loads and becomes usable within 5 seconds on mid-range mobile devices with 3G connections, or within three seconds on 4G connections. By using this tool, companies can check the load speed of their website and compare to others in the market.
A slow mobile site doesn’t just frustrate customers, it can limit an online business. In the retail market, it’s been calculated that for every 1 second delay in page load time, conversions can fall by up to 20%. The Impact Calculator is an additional tool that estimates the revenue impact that could result from improving the speed of your mobile site.
Google already provides a number of site speed tools, including in Google Analytics where a list of speed suggestions are generated. These often suggest the same things for most websites, but it’s important for companies to be aware of potential speed issues, and to discuss the checklist and possible options with their website developers to gain seconds in page load time.
If you’d like to know more about the new Speed Scorecard and how you can assess or improve your website’s load time, please contact us for a discussion.
Using Message Extensions in Google AdWords
Click to message ads, or message extensions, have been available in Google AdWords since the end of 2016 although are not widely used by many advertisers. However, Google’s research indicates that 65% of consumers would consider messaging a company to get further information, or to schedule an appointment. Now Google has announced more detailed reporting for this type of extension.
Starting to roll-out in the number of countries, including Australia and the UK, message reporting is designed to provide advertisers with more information and insights to assess the effectiveness of the message extensions with AdWords adverts.
The new reporting will include a number of performance metrics, including:
Chat rate – how often users start a conversation with you (“Chats”) after seeing your message extension (“Message impressions”).
Chat start time – the timestamp for when a user sends you a message to initiate a conversation. Advertisers could use this insight to help schedule their message extensions.
Messages – the total number of messages exchanged between you and a user within a single chat. This insight could be used to evaluate which campaigns are driving the longest or most in-depth conversations compared to the average.
The most common uses for message extensions might be for advertisers whose potential customers may want to make fast contact, but may not want to talk to someone directly. They can start a new contact channel which should be responded to quite quickly and puts the emphasis on the advertiser to provide more information and to encourage further exchanges with the enquirer.
Message extensions could be used as a mobile equivalent to a live chat option on the website, but starting from the advert itself, and the advertiser can start with a strong text message in the ad that relates to the search term and encourages a first contact to be made.
Google provides a ‘best practice’ guide to using message extensions and this should be tested by advertisers if they think their customers may want to communicate in this way. The new message reporting should also help advertisers assess the response and effectiveness of this ad extension as they develop the conversions from their campaigns.
If you’d like to know more about message extensions and how it could be used in your AdWords activity, please contact us now for more details.
Understanding the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
At the end of March, Google sent out a lengthy email to their advertisers and users of their various data services, particularly in Europe but also throughout the world with regard to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In the light of the recent Facebook issue where personal data was shared without consent, this move by Google seemed timely and also in preparation of possible future changes to legal restrictions that could be imposed.
The GDPR is a new data protection law which came into force in Europe on May 25, 2018. The GDPR affects European and non-European businesses using online advertising (such as AdWords) and measurement solutions (such as Analytics) when their sites and apps are accessed by users in the European Economic Area (EEA).
Google’s EU User Consent Policy is being updated to reflect the new legal requirements of the GDPR. It sets out the responsibilities of companies for making disclosures to, and obtaining consents from, end users of their websites and apps in the EEA. The policy is incorporated into the contracts for most Google ads and measurement products globally.
Google has been rolling out updates to their contractual terms for many products since last August, reflecting Google’s status as either data processor or data controller under the new law.
For users of Google Analytics (GA), Attribution, Optimize, Tag Manager or Data Studio, whether the free or paid versions, Google operates as a processor of personal data that is handled in the service. Data processing terms for these products are already available for users of these tools to accept (in Admin → Account Settings pages).
If users are an EEA client of Google Analytics, data processing will be included in their terms shortly. GA customers based outside the EEA and all GA 360 customers may accept the terms from within GA.
To comply with and support the compliance of companies with the GDPR laws, Google will be launching new controls for Google Analytics customers to manage the retention and deletion of their data. The policy will also require that publishers take extra steps in obtaining consent from their users and so, before May, Google will launch a solution to support publishers that want to show non-personalized ads, and they are also working with industry groups, such as IAB Europe, to explore proposed consent solutions for publishers.
At present these laws mostly apply to European countries, but could herald further restrictions and controls for online business and advertising around the world. It you’d like to know more, please get in touch.