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4 Key Takeaways from SMX East

October 29th, 2018 Posted by SEM and Digital Advertising No Comment yet

The Incentric team visited SMX East this past week, the worlds largest Search Engine Marketing expo, conference, and workshop. There, we took a deep dive into some great sessions so we could spread the PPC knowledge onto you!

1. Google isn’t calling it AdWords anymore for a reason.

Google has recently rebranded AdWords into simply, Google Ads, which was done in an effort to simplify the platform. This name change is indicative of where the product has been heading over the past few years. It’s grown into an advertising suite for not only search but display, video, app install & more.

With this evolution, It’s safe to say that keywords are becoming less and less important. We’re seeing a shift in focus from a keyword-centric strategy to focusing more on audience targeting and competitor conquesting. Keywords are just one lever to your SEM strategy.

2. A.I. is Here, and It’s Here to Stay.

It’s no secret that lately, Google has been rolling out more and more features related to AI-driven automation within the Google Ads platform. With the name change, also comes a big push for some of the new machine learning based smart campaigns and automated bidding strategies.

Admittedly we’ve been skeptical about it at first, but the machine learning behind Google Ad auctions is a complex beast. The technology is designed to take the guesswork and confusion out of manually managing some of the more tedious aspects of the platform like automatic bidding, dynamic search ads, and responsive display ads, to name a few.

3. Decreasing Page Load Time Should Be a Top Priority.

“The level of stress associated with waiting for a mobile website to load is comparable to watching a horror movie!” (v. @buyukgokcesu)

Yikes!

Nobody likes to wait. Fortunately, Google is taking several measures to help decrease load times to get users to where they’re trying to go, fast.

Google AMP is an accelerated mobile page experience which helps web pages load almost instantly. This gives users a smoother, more engaging experience. Unfortunately, it is more involved than just “flipping the switch.” It does require some development work, but well worth the investment if you consider the return.

Parallel tracking is another update Google is using to speed things up. Traditionally when using a 3rd party tracking system, your ads would call the tracker first, then take you to your final URL. This causes a delay and longer load times. With parallel tracking, users are delivered directly to the landing page, while click measurement/tracking happens in the background. It looks something like this:

parallel-tracking

Both of these efforts to decrease load times not only give users a better experience, but it also can help raise your quality score, which we all know can save you money by lowering CPC.  

4. “Don’t Bring Your Gut to a Data Fight.” (v. @amaliaefowler)

Often times, we make assumptions about what could or should be when testing certain theories, creatives or strategies. There is a big difference between scientific decisions and business ones. When it comes to PPC testing, let the data drive your decisions and try to keep your instincts at bay. Here are a few points to consider when testing a campaign:

  • Beware of over-optimization.
  • Be prepared to wait for results.
  • Consider statistical significance (there are some great free tools to calculate this).
  • Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

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Dave-Varhol

Dave is a Paid Search Strategist at Incentric. Fascinated by the way buyers make purchase decisions, you’ll usually find him optimizing a PPC campaign, researching keywords or trying to keep up with the latest Google trends. If not that, he’s probably out on the water or checking out a new restaurant or brewery.

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