SEO Articles

Microsoft Advertising is rolling out Auto-generated remarketing lists and more

Microsoft Advertising is rolling out Auto-generated remarketing lists and more

Spring has been quite the busy season for Microsoft Advertising. First we heard about the news on RSA extensions adding an extra 60 days, then the search behemoth announced innovate new cash-back incentives ads. A handful of additions and upgrades have been announced in May, led by Auto-generated remarketing lists.

New auto-generated remarketing lists

You may see a new notification about audiences when logging into your Microsoft Advertising account. These new audiences are for those looking to “get started with remarketing, or you’re already using remarketing and want to optimize performance.”

Advertisers will have the ability to choose from the following preset audiences:

All Visitors. People who have visited your website in the past 30 days.

All Converters. People who have converted in the past 180 days.

Smart Remarketing. According to Microsoft these are “People who are likely to convert”. These audiences are powered by Microsoft Advertising’s audience intelligence with a goal of providing high conversion rates.

These breakouts make sense as they give advertisers flexibility to target (or remove) those commonly used audiences without requiring advanced technical knowhow. The smart remarketing sounds promising and may be worth a test by all advertisers if in fact the intelligence works as advertised.

Dynamic Search Ad rollout, subdomain support & exact domains

In other news, Microsoft’s Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) are rolling out to Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.

Advertisers will also be rejoicing as they’ll now have the ability to use DSAs on subdomains. The changes don’t stop there as Exact auto-target URLs are coming for more fine tuned “URL equals” targeting than the “URL contains” operator. This should make specific targeting much easier for advertisers.

Other Microsoft Advertising additions

A few other helpful enhancements releasing in May include:

Manage images in Microsoft Advertising Editor
You can now create new ads, upload images as well as delete/replace previous images.
Microsoft Audience Network enhancements
New bidding is coming including CPM pricing and smart bidding.

Why We Care. While most folks reading this now already have remarketing lists created, the ‘smart remarketing’ lists are a new tool to test. While the previous visitors and previous purchasers aren’t revolutionary, they may help new advertisers perform better on the platform.

Lastly, the ability to be able to use DSAs on subdomains is a much welcomed addition and the

The post Microsoft Advertising is rolling out Auto-generated remarketing lists and more appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google Responsive Search Ads: What you need to know

Google Responsive Search Ads: What you need to know

June 30 is almost here. That’s when Google will sunset expanded text ads (ETAs).

Google has given us a lot of time, advice and resources to prepare for the successor to ETAs – Responsive Search Ads (RSAs).

Are you ready? Read this guide for useful information and to understand how this transition may affect your paid search campaigns.

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Details on the transition

Starting June 30, advertisers will no longer be able to create or edit ETAs in Google Ads.

However, existing ETAs will still be able to run alongside RSAs moving forward.

Advertisers will still have the ability to pause and resume these ads based on guidance from the reporting that Google Ads will continue to provide.

What are RSAs?

RSAs are responsive search ads. Advertisers upload multiple headlines and descriptions, then let Google’s machine learning optimize the ad versions in real-time. The goal is to increase engagement (click-through rate).

Google allows up to 15 different headlines and up to four different descriptions to be considered when creating the ad combinations shown in the search results.

Think of all the possibilities for Google’s machine learning to optimize ad messages. There are more than 43,000 different variations available to keep your messages fresh and keep the ad engagement on an uphill trajectory.

Over time, the system will customize the ad versions based on the user’s search behavior, device preferences and other signals to serve the right version at the right time. The result looks exactly like the ETAs and includes up to three headlines, two descriptions and a display URL.

Google initially introduced RSAs in beta in 2018 and continued to expose advertisers to the change.

Alerts throughout the Google Ads platform have appeared over the past several months. These alerts are typically shown while creating new or editing existing ads.

RSAs became the default ad type in Google Ads on Feb. 18, 2021.

Benefits of RSAs

Yes, there are some drawbacks to this transition. For example, advertisers have less control over the ad combinations and low visibility into which combinations performed the best.

However, there are also reasons to get excited. Here are three big benefits:

You will save time. After the initial planning of the RSA, you will save the many hours of creation, testing and analysis that previously went into new versions of ETAs.Performance will improve. Advertisers are already seeing improved click-through rates associated with RSAs. As the system optimizes and learns, click-through rates will increase, and the best-performing versions will be prioritized.Optimization will happen in real-time. As the learning progresses, the system gets smarter at delivering top performers. This ensures ads will be more engaging to consumers and become more optimized as time goes on.

How does the transition affect search ad strategy?

Use the knowledge about what worked best from your ETAs and carry it over to RSAs.

All the work and testing you have done will pay off with this update.

You may believe that your best-performing ETAs will stop performing and you should pause them immediately. Not true.

Instead, you should continue running the best ETAs. Analyze their performance against RSAs in each ad group.

Now is the time to start thinking about all the headlines and descriptions you want to use in your RSAs. With Google doing the heavy lifting when it comes to combination optimization and testing, we need to give Google our most effective marketing messages.

Lack of control of the combinations requires some strategic planning and attention to what is possible.

How to write effective RSAs

Google gives some helpful advice on how to create effective search ads. All these suggestions should be considered when writing your RSAs.

Here’s what is most important when writing effective RSAs.

Headlines are your bread and butter

Headlines make your ads stand out and entice potential customers to click through on your ad versus your competitor’s ad. They also have a significant impact on how Google ranks the quality of the ad.

Keep your headline unique. Google will not display headlines that are too similar. Redundant headlines will limit the number of combinations that Google can serve.Include keywords in at least five headlines. To maximize your ad quality score, Google offers dynamic keyword insertion to insert your keywords directly into your headlines.Include three headlines that do not have campaign keywords. These headlines can include specific calls to action exclusive discount offers when available.Have a combination of short and long headlines. Headlines can have up to 30 characters.Aim to deliver at least 10 headlines for Google to optimize.

Create attention-grabbing descriptions

Use your descriptions to let potential customers know why you are the best option. Don’t make them guess. Get your marketing message across by thinking about the following:

Highlight something unique in each description. Think about the different combinations that may be put together and if they make sense in any order. This is important. One description should not be dependent on another.Tell the audience what you want them to do. Whether it be “Download a Newsletter” or “Purchase Today,” strong, clear calls to action are a must.

Use pinning to control combinations only when necessary

Google allows you to pin headlines and descriptions, so they show up in a specific position. This is an excellent feature that can help you regain a bit of the control you may feel you have lost.

Use pinning only when necessary. Google is a learning machine. Pinning one headline reduces the testing and learning Google can do by over 75%. The percentage increases as the number of pins go up.

Take advantage of Google’s ad strength score

We love the fact Google gives us a peek into how our ads can be improved. Take this seriously.

Many times, we feel our ads encompass all needed elements, but Google may not agree. The ad strength meter measures quantity, relevance and diversity in the provided headlines and descriptions.

Use this information to improve the ads until Google sees them as “Good” or even “Excellent.” Google provides an option to view ideas that may help expand your ads and make them more relevant.

Google Ads RSA preparation checklist

Continue learning: Take advantage of the next two months. Keep testing new versions of your ETAs to identify what works and move those messages over to your RSAs.Create one RSA per ad group: Make sure each ad group has one active RSA. Use the recommendations above and from Google to write effective RSAs.Use ad extensions: Implement at least four ad extensions for each group. Ad extensions can be applied at multiple levels, including account, campaign and ad group. Apply extensions at the ad group level so the extensions are relevant. A higher number of extensions increases the amount of information the searcher must evaluate before clicking on your ad.

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20220503 SEL Brief

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Elon Musk taking over Twitter, but most marketers not worried 

Elon Musk taking over Twitter, but most marketers not worried 

It’s the end of Twitter as we know it. And a majority of marketers feel fine.

One week ago, Elon Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion. And if his tweets hold any truth, he has big changes in mind, such as an edit button, long-form tweets and defeating the spambots. 

So how are marketers excited, worried or meh about it all? We polled our audience to find out.  

Why 58% of marketers aren’t concerned. Verification of accounts. Removing bots. Free speech. These were among the reasons marketers are feeling optimistic about Musk owning Twitter. Here’s a sampling of comments: 

“I hope to see the option to let all users Verify their account (if they want to). It would be good to let all users have the option to view only Verified Accounts Tweets.”“Elon will bring people back to Twitter and remove bots, sounds like a great opportunity for advertising.”“I think a politically neutral approach to content moderation will broaden the user base and make more audiences reachable on the platform. Making the algorithm open source should make the factors that affect marketing success more transparent and testable. I also think the commitment to removing bots and spammers will make it a place that more people want to spend their time. This is great news.”“Everything Musk touches turns to gold (PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX). I’m not worried. If he can get the rampant bots/spam under control, it will be a boon to users and marketers alike! Higher signal to noise ratio would help ad CTR and other metrics, I’d think.”“Allowing for the free and open exchange of information and ideas does not bear any negative weight for brands. In fact, brands should celebrate this.”“Twitter ads have never worked great for us, so any change feels like a good change.”

For what it’s worth: former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted in support of Musk’s vision of Twitter (“having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization.”)

Why 42% of marketers are concerned. Brand safety. Less users. And “free speech” (which many believe is code for “hate speech”). These were among the reasons marketers are feeling not so great about Musk owning Twitter. Here’s a sampling of comments: 

“If Twitter becomes increasingly known as a mainly political motivated environment populated by ‘alternative truths’ (aka lies), ultra-radical outpourings and dubious conspiracy theories, then I can see a risk of brands getting caught up in the maelstrom and have difficulty maintaining authority and brand integrity, Or, simply losing their voice in the general noise.”“As a marketer, I’d be worried, not because I dislike the idea of Elon Musk owning Twitter, or that he might make Twitter more moderate on how it handles speech on the platform, I’d be worried simply because change is always worrisome, especially one that is as big as the one he seems to be aiming for.”“I’m concerned that the ban on bots makes industry tools harder to manage – but more significantly that Elon’s statements about ‘absolute free speech’ mean that hate speech will be allowed to proliferate even more. A platform of wild hate speech is not a place people should advertise.”“We are concerned that in his crusade for ‘free speech,’ Musk will turn a blind eye to harassment, hate speech, disinformation, and other vile expressions. We would not recommend any brands that we represent to be associated with the Twitter brand.”“If relaxing the rules on Twitter, there is also concern over the spread of misinformation and blatant lies. This may cause issues related to safety and well-being of its users.”“Worried that there could be a serious exodus of users from the platform. A premium version without ads would also be concerning, especially if metrics on what kinds of audience are lost to this ad-free version were not available. Also concerned about brand safety with what else could show on the feed surrounding our ad.”

And from the “nothing will change” department. There were some responses that were hard to classify other than “harsh, but not wrong.” Everything from “nothing will change” to “how can a cesspool get any worse?” Here’s a sampling:

“After all is said and done, I don’t think much will change from a marketing perspective.”“Twitter’s value as a platform for message distribution and engagement has already changed significantly over the last 5 years. In some cases, it’s still a valuable tool, but in many instances, we’ve found its impact has decayed.”“Twitter has been a cesspool for a long time. I honestly don’t believe it could get worse.”“It’s always possible to change the channels you use as marketer, and new ones are on their way already. After all, we have the money they need – even Elon Musk.”

Why we care. The sale of Twitter is a major change in the world of digital marketing. We will all feel the impact at some point. When? That’s the question. Despite some big concerns, Musk has a proven track record of investing in or running popular and profitable companies like PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX. Every day we’re getting closer to seeing whether Musk can unlock Twitter’s potential. The question will be whether brands and marketers choose to stick around and continue investing time and advertising money into the platform once they see Musk’s vision for Twitter. 

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Master the art of A/B testing

Master the art of A/B testing

Traditional A/B testing only lets you test messaging, creative and other marketing assets after they have gone live in the market – with no warning of how they will perform.

This sometimes leads to falling short on your marketing goals. What if there was a way to test before launching, improve your return and understand why your consumers selected the asset they did?

Join experts from Feedback Loop as they provide real-world examples of what you need to exceed goals and advance in your career with agile research.

Register today for “Master the Art of Agile Research to Iterate, Innovate and Grow” presented by Feedback Loop.

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Google offers $100,000 worth of free training to U.S. companies

U.S. businesses can now get up to 500 Google Career Certificate scholarships for free via Coursera, as part of Grow with Google. Google says this is the equivalent of $100,000 in workforce training.

What are Google Career Certificates? Google launched career certificates in 2018 and describes them as “rigorous, online programs with hands-on experience that can be completed as part-time study, 5-10 hours a week for 3-6 months.” 

More than 70,000 people have graduated in the U.S. and 75% reported a positive career impact (e.g., a new job, higher pay, a promotion) within six months of completing certification. Google also noted that 55% of graduates identified as Asian, Black or Latino.

Google offers five professional certificates, including a new one.

New certificate: Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce. If you have employees in need of digital marketing or e-commerce training, this new certificate may be one to explore. 

Google’s description of the certificate: “Whether your business sells to customers or other businesses, your online presence matters. Employees will learn to attract and engage people online, grow customer loyalty, and build successful e-commerce stores.”

People who train for this certificate will learn how to find customers online, sell products or services and do marketing analytics and measurement. They will also get hands-on experience with digital marketing tools like Canva, Constant Contact, Hootsuite, HubSpot, MailChimp, Shopify, Twitter, Google Ads and Google Analytics. 

Google’s certificate for digital marketing and e-commerce can be used to train employees for roles such as:

Digital Marketing SpecialistSEO AnalystPaid Search SpecialistEmail Marketing SpecialistMarketing CoordinatorE-commerce Specialist

The Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Certificate was developed by Google, with input from leading e-commerce companies. It is endorsed by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s).

In addition, Google offers these career certificates:

Google IT SupportGoogle Data Analytics Google Project Management Google UX Design 

How to claim your credits. Visit Grow with Google and click on the blue Get started button. This will take you to a landing page, where you’ll find a form that an administrator (the business owner or an “employee with authority to make decisions regarding supplementary learning for employees in the organization”) will need to fill out.

This offer expires Dec. 18, 2024. Also make sure to read the FAQ for more details on the program.

Why we care. If you need to reskill or upskill an employee, now you can get Google’s free training to teach them about digital marketing, ecommerce and other areas. Providing employees any needed training could also help improve your business results, and potentially could help with employee retention and engagement.

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