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Web Search & Marketing Newsletter – October 2014

Welcome to the latest monthly issue of our newsletter which covers news, tips and advice on effective website marketing, with a particular focus on search marketing techniques and trends.

In the first article this month, we take a look at Google’s release of new benchmark reports in Analytics, which is an extremely useful tool to assess how your website is performing compared to the competition. Next, we look at the roll-out of callout extensions in Google AdWords, and how the correct use of this additional line of text in ads could help your advert performance.

You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter here. 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…

New Benchmark Reports in Google Analytics

Google has just released some new benchmark reports in Analytics and these are now appearing in the reports menu. These reports provide another level of analysis with Analytics and enable website marketers to compare their key metrics against those of other companies in the same market sector, for better or worse.

Google Analytics used to provide some benchmark reports in the original interface, but these disappeared several years ago with the promise that they would be provided again in some form. Google has now just reintroduced these reports and use a much larger sample size to compare data, giving Analytics accounts another reporting option and potentially some more reliable, or meaningful data. Users can now view these reports within the Audience section of their account, and compare their results to peers in their industry, choosing from 1600 industry categories, 1250 markets and 7 size buckets.

These benchmarking reports use the ‘footprint’ of Google Analytics across thousands of websites and allow companies to potentially set meaningful targets, as well as spot trends occurring across industries. They may also provide the answer to important questions, such as:

  • Which channels should more investment be put into?
  • How your mobile engagement compares to your peers?
  • How unique is your audience?

The new Benchmarking reports display acquisition and engagement metrics, such as sessions and bounce rate by Channel, Location, or Device Category dimensions. To ensure total data transparency, the number of properties (websites) contributing to the benchmark is displayed once you choose the industry, market and size. A helpful heat map feature makes it easy to see areas of strength and opportunity, and where to devote more resources.

Benchmarking reports can only be accessed by accounts that have opted in to share their data anonymously. Therefore, if you can’t currently see these reports, check in your Admin section under the Account Settings to ensure that the option “Share anonymously with Google and others” has been ticked. Also under the Property Settings, you should select the industry category that best fits with your business, as Google has been, and is, collecting data against these categories to provide the reports by industry sector.

It’s certainly worth testing these reports and to see what results are shown. How you use this depends on your industry category / country and the sample size, and whether you think this is meaningful for your business, but it can provide some useful insights that can be considered and then tested with changes to your marketing or website. Google says this is only the beginning for benchmarking reporting within Analytics, and they will be expanding these capabilities in the coming months, both incorporating conversion metrics and adding support for mobile apps.

You can read more details on benchmarking reports or you can contact us now for more information about how we can help you use these reports most effectively to enhance the marketing of your business.


AdWords Callout Ad Extensions Rolled Out

Google has recently announced the roll-out of ‘callout’ extensions within the AdWords system. These new callout have some distinct advantages for advertisers and they should be used and tested to see how they can help to improve the performance of advert clickthrough and conversion rates.

The new callout ad extensions can be found within the Ad Extensions tab, and enable advertisers to add an extra line of information below their ad text when the ads appear in the top left panel above the main search results. Any number of callouts can be set up, with a maximum number of 25 characters, but only 3-4 are likely to be shown with most ads, in a single line of bullet point. The callouts are similar to sitelink extensions, except that the former don’t require links to the site, which is a benefit as a separate landing page isn’t required. That offers a lot of flexibility in messaging and means any size site should be able to take advantage of callouts.

Google states that highlighting offers like free shipping, 24/7 customer service and price matching can increase clickthrough rates. Callout extensions can also be useful for promoting deals, sales and other special or seasonal offers that will help make an ad stand out from those of competitors. It’s therefore important to consider the offers and services provided by your business that can generate a competitive advantage, as well as discovering ways callouts can compliment existing sitelink and ad format strategies.

Like sitelinks, callouts can be set up and edited at the campaign or ad group level without having to create new ads, and data is retained even after making edits. One difference from sitelinks is that callouts can also be set up at the account level and Google recommends setting up four callouts at the account, campaign and ad group levels. This ensures as many callouts as possible are available to show with an ad. The most granular level callout will be shown.

Google states that “The order of your callouts, their length and how they perform, factor into how many callouts appear, and whether a callout will show for your ad.” Another crucial incentive to implement callouts is that, as with other extensions and formats, they factor into Ad Rank, which can lead to a higher Quality Score and a reduction in average cost-per-click.

There will undoubtedly be many case studies on the optimal combination of how best to place USPs in either callouts, ad copy, or sitelinks, but at this stage, it’s clear that the ability to increase ad real-estate with another line is a positive option for AdWords advertisers – especially for those who are savvy enough to include it quickly after the recent launch.

You can read more about showing additional callout extensions below your ad, or you can contact us if you want details on how we can help to improve your CTR with this new feature.

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