All posts by Davorin Černoga

Internet marketing Specialist, learning and successfully practicing internet marketing since 2008. Particularly specializes in AdWords advertising and optimization of existing campaigns. Since 2015. in charge of supervising & training a constantly growing team of digital marketing specialists in Escape Ltd.

Brand Campaign as measure of Brand awareness

 

This is not another typical blog post about whether it is better or not to advertise for brand words. This post talks about the brand campaign that was used to track “level of brand awareness” for one of our clients. This campaigns was also used to monitor the behaviour & appearance of new competition.

If you want to immediately see results and conclusion of this article – you can skip all this here

When we started with this client it was immediately decided that “brand campaign” will not be taken in calculation of the cost-effectiveness of AdWords campaigns. Of course, brand campaigns have very small CPC, which is why the average monthly investment to cover all brand queries is less than 3% of the total budget. In addition, from time to time we see emergence of new competition which is advertising for client brand keywords.

Main problem of this client is a large number of competition thru AdWords advertising. Besides for his brand keywords, they are also showing their ads for same/similar products. We can say that potential customers are seeing a large number of ads for different brands (competition).

In addition to the fact that competition is quite large, it is also growing very rapidly. Thus, on an annual basis we see growth in the number of competitors from 250% to 300% (see picture below).

Competition grow

We must not forget that in analytics we can no longer see for which keywords users have come to our website (organic, not paid channel). There are certain capabilities via search console (formerly webmastertools) to see the inquiries but not for a very long period of time (also, we recommend to link together analytics and search console).

In short, the facts are:

  • Less than 3% of the total monthly budget is necessary for brand campaign
  • Competition is showing their ads for best products as well as for our brand
  • 200-300% annual growth in the number of competition
  • Insufficient data in Analytics

Because of all the above facts, it was decided that brand campaign will be an indicator of own “branding level”. The concept is quite simple – if there is a decrease in number of searches for brand queries then brand awareness decreases, if there is an increase in number of searches for brand queries then brand awareness is growing. This is rather simple way of “measuring” – but, due to its simplicity it is just perfect if you want to immediately see the results (of your marketing efforts).

Before we look at some of the results it is necessary to note that adwords brand campaign is not the only “source” on the basis of which we are deciding on the level of brand awareness. It was one of the indicators.

 

Results of Brand campaign

 

The picture below shows us the number of impressions during the last two years (for a brand campaign). We will use this chart to show you certain information about brand awareness and competition activity.

2 years Impressions

We shall look at impressions rather than clicks (although they are very closely related and have the same leaps and falls during observed months). It is very important that for a Brand campaign we have impression share as close to 100%. At the same time, we also do not have any lost impressions due to restricted budget or due to low ad positions.

Lost rank IS

In the upper chart we can see the first period of a few months where we had about 99.5% Impression Share but also at the same time we had lost IS due to rank (very small – about 0.5%). This is a sign that for our brand (keywords) there were competitor ads. After these few months (figure 1 in the picture) competition have calmed down.

Of course, we have quite raised our bids on our brand words, so it’s very likely that their CPC was quite big because of that. However, it is clear that they continued to advertise for our brand keywords (lost IS due to rank was never 0%).

Then came a sudden jump (number 2 in picture above) in lost IS due to rank. In that month we have seen the arrival of new competitors that have started to advertise for client brand.

Rise of CPC

For very short period of time we have seen an CPC increase of nearly 90% on our own ads/keywords because of these new competitors. After certain interventions in our campaign (raising the bids) their ads have dropped below first position.

Once again we see a big drop (of search impression share) at the end of the 3rd period. What we have noticed is that again there has been a large arrival of completely new competitors. These competitors have begun increasingly targeting our own brand keywords.

In this way, thru Brand campaign, we can very quickly and easily see when the competitors are advertising for our brand words, when new competitors emerge and so on.

Note: Our impression share for the whole period was over 99% and lost IS due rank was below 1%. From time to time we have still lowered our own bid (on our brand keywords) because we’ve seen that in return it reduces CPC while still keeping the first position of our ad. In addition, as shown in the image below,  we can see that the competition was advertising all of the time for our brand words.

Average position

Note: our bid to “our brand terms” was very high due to the situation in this segment (number of competitors). We were sometimes shocked to see how much money is competition willing to spend on clicks for someone else’s brand!

Automated rules

Tip: you can easily make automated rules to email you when your “brand terms” are not in first position – in that way you instantly see what your competition is doing 😉

 

Different types of campaigns and their reflection on number of impressions

 

Let’s go back to our impressions and what we can see when we had different types of campaigns (non-brand) active or paused.

First period of campaigns

During the first period (number 1), we had active display campaigns (besides web pages we had also specifically targeted Youtube placement) – we saw tremendous growth of impressions (for brand search terms). During the 2nd period we had active display campaigns BUT without targeting youtube placement. We see that there has been a slight decrease in number of impressions.

In 3rd period we once again had active youtube display campaigns. We immediately saw noticeable jump in the number of impressions.

Percentage of impressions

We can see that we had 20% less impressions during 2nd period. After activating youtube placements we had saw rise but it was still below 1st period levels (92%).

Note: Products sold by the customer are not seasonal – they are used throughout the whole year. Activation of specific types of campaign is clearly visible/related on the graph. If it came to seasonality then we would not see this kind of results (ups and downs) that correspond to the activation of specific types of campaigns.

Impressions second period

It is interesting that we have seen the greatest number of impressions when the client decided to advertise on TV (number 1). Also at that time we had active display and YouTube campaigns. During this period he had the most searches for brand queries in last 2 years.

But, it is also interesting to compare the 2nd period to 3rd period. The difference is that during the 2nd period we had active display campaigns, while during the 3rd period we had active only search campaigns. We can see a big drop of impressions during this 3rd period (in which we did not have an active display campaigns). After that period, we have again activated the display campaigns and although the improvement is obvious – it was not to the extent that was expected.

Note: we have warn the client of drop in number of impressions and that this is sign that his brand awareness is falling down. We have advised him to keep his display campaigns active all the time but he did not want to spend additional budget on it.

 

Brand campaign as measure of brand awareness – yes or no

 

Final results

Unfortunately, there is apparent decline in number of searches (impressios) for “brand” words when there are no active display campaigns. Here we can conclude that it is necessary to have a display (branding) campaign active all the time – because the competition is also constantly growing.

Therefore, it is necessary to constantly “keep” high level of brand awareness. It is necessary to keep high awareness levels of brand “existence” in potential buyers of your products/services.

We can see a lot based on the brand campaign. We can see how the different type of campaigns affected the brand awareness (number of impressions). In addition, we can see the behaviour of the competition (if competitors are advertising for your brand – you must have a brand campaign).

Obvious answer to question “can we use brand campaign as measure of brand awareness?” is – yes, we can.

But, we are not talking that brand campaign should always serve to measure “brand awareness”. We have some clients where such campaigns are not required (for branding purposes or for profit purposes) – it all depends from client to client.

We recommend testing the “brand” campaigns and measure results in order to make the right decision on the merits of “Brand” campaign.

90% bigger revenue thru budget & campaign optimization

 

It was spring of 2015 when we got a client who was actively advertising their accommodation capacities of their tourist facilities through their Adwords campaigns. After we did an audit of those campaigns, we immediately realized that there are many opportunities for improvement. We are not going to write here what exactly did we do to improve to improve the campaign, but we are going to write, among other things, how a better budget allocation  may affect the increase in revenue for over a 90%!

But first things first. AdWords account had a total of 13 active campaigns in 2014. Of these 13 campaigns, 9 of them were the classic “search” (on Google search engine results page) and 4 of them were display campaigns (on websites and portals). One of the first things we noticed during audit is that all search campaigns had a very low search impression share.

Small IS

Search campaign ads were losing their impressions – ads were not showing because of insufficient daily budget but also for targeting very low position of ad placement (search Lost IS – rank). In addition, the search campaign did not have a good structure and because of that some of the most important inquiries (according to number of conversion) were “losing” their (daily) budget. Because of that they would stop running during the mid-day.

Because of that we decided to give special attention to the allocation of the budget when planning optimization of those campaigns.

It was also interesting to note that during 2014 the campaigns had only 825 targeted words and phrases that had at least one impression. This is a very small number given the “nature” of client offer. In addition, search campaigns had only 2% CTR and average position of 4.8.

During the 2014 adwords campaigns have lead to 205 transactions and the total revenue of 1,530,429€

2014 transactions and revenue

Based on the audit of clients Adwords campaigns we came to the main factors that needed to be “repaired” to get better results:

  • optimization of the distribution of the available budget
  • campaign structure optimization
  • optimization and targeting of potentially better keywords and phrases

Based on this, we made a decision (and in light of the limited budget) to reduce investment in, or completely stop, display campaigns and all their budgets to be transferred to search campaigns. The display campaigns in 2014 accounted for some 30% of the total investment.

 

Results of optimization and distribution of budget

 

Note: we look at the entire period of 2015 although the optimized campaigns started in early April. We are doing this because it is much easier to compare the 2015 data with data from 2014.

The number of campaigns has grown to 35 – all campaigns were search campaigns. This is an increase of nearly 3 times!

During 2015 search campaign had a total 3911 targeted words and phrases that have had at least one impression (this is achieved thru proper silo structure of words, ad groups and campaigns, which is one of the main chapters in our PPC Academy) – an increase of nearly 4.5 times!

Search campaign CTR grew to 10.6% and average ad position now stands at 2.8. In other words, CTR increased by 5 times & ad position by almost double!

Position and CTR improvement

Also, there should be noted that we had about 50% less clicks on AdWords ads in 2015 (in comparison to 2014). This is because of targeting potentially better keywords and phrases.

The lower graph shows that the results have begun to appear within a few months after our takeover of AdWords account.

Transactions in 2015

Increase of transactions by 77%

Revenue in 2015

Increase of revenue by 90%

Such good results are not only attributed to the budget transfer  (from display campaigns to search campaigns) but also to the optimization of the search campaigns.

Of course, we do not say that we should always pause the display campaign, because it all depends from client to client and his  required goal (of advertising campaigns/actions). But sometimes it’s much more cost-effective, especially in the case of a very limited budget, to only activate those campaigns that give us the greatest return on investment.

 

Development and optimization of PPC campaigns

Quite often I see various online campaigns that we should “optimize” because they do not achieve the results as they should or what they owners was hoping for. You could say that there is always the problem of maximizing the impact of the adwords campaign. In most cases the solution to this problem is, in theory, quite simple but at the same time it is quite tricky to apply in reality.

Depending on type of campaign(s), how many targeted countries there are, what is the budget for each of the markets (country) or for a particular product, if the budget is limited, do we have outlined an investment plan… – so much will be a different plan of optimization for PPC campaign. Every optimization has a few simple stages.

Optimization Stages

But first things first. Let’s say you are starting your first campaign. What’s the first thing you should do? Even before you put your first word or an ad in the AdWords system? Research and planning. This is so simple and above all a very important stage/phase which many of other agencies do not implement properly or in a correct way.

 

Research for PPC campaigns

Market research is the most basic stage before the “construction” of our campaign. At my lectures I always use a very simple comparison. What would you say if I asked you what is the most important “part” in the case of construction of the house? Many have responded to this question with “concrete walls”, “roof that does not leak”, “wife’s kitchen” and so on.

building_house

Although some of these parts of the house are very important (especially in the case of wife’s kitchen) many have not remembered that the most important part of the house is its foundations. The foundations are the ones to which everything else binds. If the foundations are not well-built then even if you have the best concrete walls in the world your house will look crocked. And we certainly do not wish for our wife to constantly complains about the inclined walls in her kitchen, do we?

We could say that, in the case of a online campaigns, research is of very great importance. For example, if you did not well explored all keywords that are being  searched on the search engines and that are relevant for your “offer” – you can totally miss targeting of your adwords (PPC) campaigns. And if you miss the target of your campaigns – you threw money in totally wrong direction.

Initial campaign research

Sometimes this stage can take a lot of time. The research is not just about keyword research but also about deals offered on the (client) website. Sometimes it is important to be “familiar” with the services and products offered on the website. If you know them, then you will know what kind of person would want to buy such offer/product. If you made enough effort on this stage and made research as it should be – then all the subsequent steps will be a lot easier.

 

Planning the online campaign

Based on the results that we get during the research phase we are making the advertising plan. This plan consists of several separate parts, where each one of them, in its own way, affects the final results of the campaign. Of course, one should be aware that sometimes we do not have enough information on which we could, with certainty, correctly predict what will happen.

In other words, sometimes the planning of advertising must be done with so-called “Best educated guess” – these are not predictions based on data that was not researched (because there are none), but based on our experience and knowledge in the field of marketing that we have collected over the past years. It should be noted that this predictions in most cases are quite accurate, but there are also times when they are not.

However, one should know that the planning phase is cyclically repeating in the process of optimization of digital campaigns – look at the last image in this post. Even in cases where our initial predictions were not entirely correct, we can use the specific data from active campaigns and use that data as basis on which we shall subsequently change plan of advertising.

Campaign planning

Planning stage may consist of planning the advertising time (day time, week, month…), what kind of campaign we shall use (search, video, mobile, display…), the structure of the campaign, projected advertising budget (taking into account competition and average price per click), provided budget for targeted markets (countries), deciding which metrics to be measured and so on…

Remember – no matter how it is made, it is still true that any plan is better than the plan that does not exist!

 

In the case of “wife’s kitchen” we could say that only wife knows the full plan which is changed at regular intervals (every week when she looks at the latest TV shows about house arrangement) and therefore it is the best (and easiest) to let the wife do all the planning.

 

Creating PPC campaign

Based on our plan we are starting with construction of the campaigns and their structures. This stage in the process is quite complicated and time consuming. However, it is time consuming only during this first set-up. If it is properly made by following some basic rules, such as the naming of campaigns, ad groups and ads, any subsequent changes are very easy and fast.

Here we can say that the basic concept is to make the best we can in the beginning only that we could later have the simpler job. Unfortunately, many at this stage “skip” those things for which they knew it would be good to do.

Campaign Creating

If the creation of campaign is not done in correct way then the whole campaign will suffer from inadequate performance but also from its subsequent optimization. Because optimization is greatly hampered if even the author of campaign can not navigate in the sea of ​​information, campaigns, ads and targeted phrases. This case is more evident if there was no plan (or proper research) during the initial setup of the campaign.

If we worked according to plan then even our wife can not say anything if we, for example, set the tiles with floral pattern in her kitchen (according to her plan) but since then she has changed that plan and now she requires the tiles with the modern pattern.

 

Data collection

The next stage is actually quite simple and relatively easy, provided that all the previous stages are made according to the rules. In this stage we are collecting information from active campaigns. This data is not limited only to data from campaigns but we also look at the data from statistical tools – tools with which you are monitoring your website (Google analytics).

Campaign data collection

It is very important to constant monitor how the campaigns are “acting” at this stage. Sometimes it can happen that we see totally unexpected behavior and results of the campaigns – at that moment it is important to immediately react and make changes to the campaign itself.

For example, depending on how loudly (and often) our wife complains about the tiling – we will immediately remove all the tiles with floral patterns.

 

Data analysis of online campaigns

Based on these data we are making conclusions as to whether the campaign was successful, what worked, what could be better and so on. At this stage, we try to pay attention to all “components” of the campaign. From targeted words & phrases through actual queries that have occurred to cost per conversion and return on investment.

Sometimes we reach certain results that were not in line with our expectations. If we do not see a real reason for that results then it is very important to re-examine all campaign settings and the plan itself. Sometimes it happens that we failed to notice certain facts during research stage.

Campaign data analysis

Analysis, if the initial stages (research, planning, development) are made according to some basic rules, is very simple. Otherwise, our analysis can come to all the wrong conclusions. Erroneous conclusions on which we must make decisions for future advertising.

We can say that only at this stage the real optimization is starting. However, one should bear in mind that optimization simply would not be possible without all the previous stages. For example, if you just recently took over PPC campaign (which was managed by some other agency) it was very important to first go through all the previous stages in order to see if the campaign was well made (planned) from start.

Analytics dashboard

 

Based on data analysis we are making decisions for future advertising – and for changes that needs to be done to campaigns. For example, if wife stopped to complain about the tiles in the kitchen (which we removed the day before) but now began to complain of too high ceiling for exactly 5 inches – then we know what to do next (optimize) 🙂

The whole process is repeating. Research, provided that it was properly done at the beginning, is not part of this process in the same sense. The research is still done but we might say that it is now part of the planning and preparation/changing (of the campaigns) stage.

PPC Optimization stages

For example, it is necessary to investigate (research) all queries for which our ads have triggered and then to exclude those that are not relevant to our offer. Or, let’s say that in the case of limited budgets we need to research what keywords are bringing/leading to conversions and then separate them to specific campaigns.

After we have changed the campaign according to plan (which was based on an analysis of data) we continue to gather new data from now optimized campaigns. All stages are now cyclic continuing over time.

In short, we could say that the whole concept of PPC campaign optimization is very simple, and that it could be summed up in just a few words:

 

Test – Analyse – Application – Test again

Although many will recognize this concept, unfortunately, many did not even try to apply it to their campaigns. Is it due to lack of time (personnel) or simply laziness – I do not know. But I do know that often happens that our customers ask us questions on just how we were able to raise revenue for the 20, 30 or more than 100%.

The answer is simple, you just have to know how to apply in the real world.

If you are interested in additional information about optimizing your campaign – feel free to contact us.

Importance of initial Google AdWords campaign setup

In this article I will briefly refer to one case with which we have met. It is about the client who more than a year ago decided we should set up his AdWords campaign and be in charge of it for few months. After these few months it was decided to disconnect clients AdWords account from Escape MCC (for us every client is the owner of his AdWords account and can at any time “disconnect” from us).

Recently there has been a re-cooperation with the same client where we got access to the same AdWords account that we have previously set up (more than a year ago). After a short overview of all settings in AdWords campaign but also overview of all the results that are achieved in that time we came to the conclusion that there could be some improvements. However, we were pleasantly surprised with the achieved results of this campaign during that year in which we were not involved.

In short, below you can see some information for this client who advertises on different markets (countries). The period in which we did not have access to the campaign is between July of 2013 until mid-September of 2014.

 

AdWords change history

The image above shows a report from the Change History. Here we can see who was, and if, doing any changes on the campaign itself. What we can see is that there were not too many changes on the actual campaigns during this time. Campaigns were active in the way we had it set up during initial set-up.

 

adwords results 2013-2014

 

On the picture above we see the results which the campaign achieved during this period. If we consider that it was advertising in several foreign markets where competition is strong, we can conclude that the campaign had very good results. Very low cost of clicks (around 0.35€), big CTR but also good average position that was held during that time just shows how the campaign was well set-up & managed at the very beginning.

 

analytics results of campaign 2013-2014

 

Data from the Analytics only confirms that all campaigns in this AdWords account were well set from the beginning when it comes to targeting users and targeting specific keywords and/or phrases. These claims are proven with data from bounce rate, number of pages viewed per session and the average duration of visits per user – all of these data are better than average data for the entire web page.

 

How the Adwords campaigns behaved over time?

First of all let’s look at how the cost-per-click price ranged during this time.

 

cpc adwords campaigns 2013

 

As we can see, for the first 6-7 months, price was stable around 2.55kn (0.3€), in the second period price moved upwards and was about 3kn (0.4€).

 

ctr adwords campaigns 2013

 

The above graph shows that the CTR (click-through rate on the ads in regard to number of showed adds) initially went up the for first 3-4 months but then stabilized at slightly below 10 %, which is not bad.

 

position adwords ads 2013

 

The graph above shows the average position. Initially it was increasingly improved and nearly come close to the position 2 but then rose and stayed a little under 3.5.

We can conclude that after first six months the client lost an average position that he had. Also, cost per click went up after first 6 months. The good thing is that CTR remain almost the same during entire period. In conclusion, if we consider that there was done almost nothing on this campaign during this period – the achieved results are excellent.

 

Can we make even better AdWords campaigns?

We can, of course. Maybe not for double improvements but some improvements can be expected ;). It should be noted that the AdWords system actively changes over time and new things are introduced that can help us in the management of the campaign and achieving results. Further pictures show very briefly what happened when we took over the campaign.

 

cpc adwords campaigns 2014

 

Immediately visible was a reduction in the price of clicks on the entire account. This was achieved by additional structuring of specific campaigns and redistribution of the budget.

 

position of adwords ads 2014

 

At the same time, besides CPC reduction, we managed to achieve better positions. Now it is at an average position of 2.

Data on CTR was not put in as it moves generally the same as before, so there are no excessive changes.

As it can be seen, the proper initial setup of the campaign, as well as its “initial optimization” of at least first 2-3 months can lead to such a campaign which we can “forget” for the next year 😉 . Of course, we do not suggest that you completely forget your AdWords campaign – it has to be checked regularly.

How are your campaigns settings? If you are not sure – you can always contact us if you want an audit – overview of the campaigns.

Note – measurement of any conversion was not set in the account. Unfortunately, in order to measure conversion properly, it would be necessary to make certain demanding changes to the client website that would entail high costs that are not in his annual investment plan.

Good AdWords campaign – but no results?

Sometimes we encounter situations in which we made all that is needed ​​in clients Adwords campaign but, simply put, in the end the results are non-existent. What many forget is that the AdWords system exists to bring the “appropriate targeted” users to your website. We bring “potential” customers who are interested in an offer that your web page shows them – will then these “potential” users convert into “true” customers does not depends on us. Converting users into customer depends only on you – and your website.

 

Design is one of the most important things on the website. The design must always be focused on what is the main goal of the website – getting new clients. If the user finds your page for the first time and if  “at first sight” it is not clear what your web page is all about – then you’ve probably lost him right away. Some of the things to watch out in web design are:

 

  • simplicity of orientation – the user always has to know “where he is” on web page and how to get to what he wanted to find out
  • transparency – the website must be clean and clutter-free
  • sometimes “less” is actually “more” – do not overwhelm users with unnecessary information, give him only what is necessary and what will interest him (the same can be applied to offers – do not immediately show him all the offers that you have – instead give him yours best 3 or 4 offers with the ability to see other offers if he is interested)
  • emphasizing what you want the user to do – for example if you have a web shop, you might want to highlight in other colors button for “purchase”
  • emphasizing of your advantages/additional benefits for users – similar to the above text, only here we mean all those advantages that you have over the competition (like price or free shipping)
  • consistency – make sure you whole website follows a specific “theme”

 

These are just some of the things to watch out for when you design a website. But apart from these, it would be good to keep an eye on some technical things (for example was there incorporated one of the analytical tools to monitor how users behave when they get to your website).

Using Google Analytics, we can see how much time users spend on your website. In addition we can also see how many users are abandoning your web page immediately as they found themselves on it. These data can show us how well the website is made and if it “immediately” conveys the right message what this web page is about.

 

bounce rate of analytics channels

 

As we can see in the picture above, we can immediately see how users behave when we divide them by channels from where they came (direct, organic & paid channel). So right away we can compare which of the channels is better and which is not so good. In addition, one should be aware that today we see more and more users who use their cell phones and tablets in surfing the Internet.

 

mobile users in analytics

 

In the case above we see that approximately one third of all users come from mobile devices (for that client). However, if we look at some data about those users, we will see that they are generally worse than the “desktop” and “tablet” users. It is very important that in these day and age you have a website that is compatible with cell phones – responsive website!

 

Check your webpage for opportunities for improvement

 

One of the important things is the speed of the website – its loading time or, should we simply say, the speed of downloading it in our browser. There can be found various studies that show if your website does not load within the first 4-6 seconds – you will lose majority of your potential users who will not wait for web page to fully load.

 

Page load time by device

 

There are several services in which you can check the “speed” of your website, we suggest a tool from Google itself, which is located at this link. The good thing is that you immediately get suggestions what you should change on your website to make it go faster.

 

Speedtest of web page

 

In addition, it would be very helpful to monitor users during the process of buying things/services. From where most of them enter the system of purchase (shopping cart, booking system, etc.) or on which of the steps most of them give up and leave the process. Sometimes, it happens that already on the first step most of potential customers give up and leave. Check out all the steps, see what can be changed on the website (every individual step in buying) or even remove some of the steps to improve the conversion of users in customers.

 

Funnel visualization

 

These are just some of the things that clients should look out for and are related to the behaviour of their website. For all other information, I suggest you contact some of the SEO or web agencies that will make a detailed analysis of all the shortcomings of your website.

Our mission is to bring to your website, thru advertising campaigns, the most relevant users (those who are interested in your offer), but it is not our task to transform them into customers. It is the task of your website, and that’s the reason why it must be correctly made​​.

 

If you want to check how your AdWords campaign is made, ​​as well as other information about the “success” of the campaign – contact us.