Richard Cotton's Posts

How mobile & conversational search will break the existing Paid Search model

Conversational search has been around for a while now, and although that has not immediately changed the paid search landscape, I believe that in the near future it will, and I’m going to run through why I believe that to be the case. The questions I’m asking in this blog post are why does it need to change and what will that mean for paid search?

Our existing model is simple. We display relevant ads based on the search terms used and attempt to match user intent to our products and services. Short head-terms provide a high volume of searches but, with less information in these short queries, we can’t match the query to a specific product. Middle to long-tail keywords are more specific, so we can take them to highly relevant products or services, but volume is usually less.

Take the example of a search for ‘jewellery shop’. Where ‘conversational searches’ build off the original query, without re-stating the original keyword, this starts to cause problems for paid search as it stands, in that there are multiple signals that are not currently supported in the infrastructure, but more crucially there is a lack of a discernible keyword after the initial search.

Continue reading >>

What is So Enhanced About Enhanced Campaigns?

The world of Paid Search has been buzzing today with news of ‘Enhanced campaigns’ that Google will be rolling out over the coming weeks and will be taking over from the current campaigns entirely by June. For those who haven’t already read about it the short version is that you will no longer be able to create campaigns by device anymore. Replacing that will be the ability to bid on mobile separately from desktop using a multiplier. If you are wondering where tablets come into that scenario, they don’t.

According to Google, “consumer behaviors on tablets and desktops are becoming very similar” so you will not be able to bid separately for tablets, it will be bundled up with your desktop bidding.

Here’s their bullet point list of key features;

  1. Powerful marketing tool for the multi-device world
  2. Smarter ads optimized for varying user contexts
  3. Advanced reports to measure new conversion types

Continue reading >>

Measuring the effectiveness of branding

Google have produced a new metric for judging the effectiveness of content network campaigns – the ‘view-through conversion’. I think that this is an excellent addition to the marketer’s toolkit but it comes with a word or two of warning. The essence of this new metric is that you now get a figure telling you when someone converted, having seen your advert but without clicking on it.

The new addition - View-through conversions

The benefit of this is that you can now judge which websites and pages represent the best value as advertising space for your service or product. If the people, who are eventually converting on your website, are reading the website where your advert is placed then it is a fair bet that the spend will be well used there.

Continue reading >>

When is a Conversion Rate Optimisation test over?

If you answered – “When Google’s website optimiser tool says it is over (with a 99% degree of statistical certainty)” then you may need to think again.

We recently ran a test on a newsletter & subscription sign up process, where the sign up required an email confirmation to complete and receive both products. The original page explained that the user had successfully signed up for the newsletter but then went on in the body of the text to say that they needed to respond to a confirmation email to complete the subscription. The variation made it clear in the headline that this was only Step 1 and made the email confirmation call to action part of the header. The test was set running and, by highlighting that the email needed to be confirmed, the variation came romping home as a winner with 99.1% chance to beat the original and more than 63% observed improvement.

conv image 1

Continue reading >>

Google Analytics now reports untagged adwords traffic as direct traffic

We recently had a spike in traffic for one of our clients that we couldn’t explain. The spike appeared in organic traffic when we excluded their main keyword but we couldn’t find out what the source of this traffic was. As we couldn’t quite get to the bottom of it, we decided that we might as well go to Google and get the benefit of their wisdom on the subject. Although they never did explain our spike it threw up an interesting change in the way that Google treats untagged traffic.


While asking Google about our strange traffic, we mentioned that we suspected that it might be untagged traffic. They countered by ignoring the main question and saying that if it were untagged traffic then it would appear as direct traffic. We had understood that untagged traffic would appear as organic traffic, hence our original theory about the cause of this activity, so this was surprising.

Continue reading >>

< older posts