Fush And Clicks

A Blog On All Things Digital (And Not).

Sitelinks in AdWords 101

Every now and then, its good to reflect on existing features which we already utilise and enjoy, but can be confusing to anyone new to the industry. One of the best features introduced in AdWords advertising over the last few years are sitelinks. Sitelinks, also appear for organic search results (as per the visual below),  but we will concern ourselves with the text sitelinks implemented for AdWords campaigns.

No doubt you would have seen sitelinks in SEM ads before. They look a little like this (the four links in blue):

or this one-line version which is more likely to appear against Non-Brand campaigns.

Sitelinks were introduced more than a few years ago, and originally looked quite different, appearing in sets of just two, than four links and originally only available to a select few advertisers. They give a user an option to navigate to specified pages using specified link text – this extends the value of existing AdWords activity by linking to content deep within the site. This could be things such as a store locator page, catalogues, current sales and other promotion pages. We suggest the pages used should be closely aligned with the goals of the search campaign, such as driving to other sections and not info pages that may not result in a sale for e-commerce focused client.

Sitelinks are easily set up via AdWords Editor (or the normal AdWords interface) with all that needed is destination pages and the link text (below 35 characters). Up to 10 sitelinks can be set up per campaign with either two, four or six sitelinks actually showing on the page (up to two for mobile campaigns on full browser smartphones). In any case, we’d recommend setting up between 4-10 sitelinks based on relevant pages to the search query. AdWords is also now set up to automatically rotate the best performing sitelinks, and sitelinks can potentially appear across all ads for the campaign. This means campaigns should be set up to allow the sitelink selection to be relevant to the keywords in the campaign.

Sitelinks do not carry any additional cost, so should always be implemented (they can also lower CPC indirectly, due to improved click through rate, Quality Score). They only appear in the top three positions, so bidding strategies may need to be adjusted with the introduction of new sitelinks to a campaign. They also require the keywords to have high quality scores (also other unknown factors), so don’t necessarily appear every time position 1-3 is achieved.

We’ve seen significant improvements in any campaign with added sitelinks, and these tend to mostly affect Brand, largely due to the increased likelihood of achieving the top positions in these campaigns. It makes sense – sitelinks increase visibility of the ad, provide more options to the user as well as a sense of ‘control’ over which area of the site they will end up on (as well as more control for the advertiser on what links/ pages they want to promote). On average, clickthrough rates are 30% higher for campaigns that have them, and the performance of sitelinks can be examined independently (and should to see to see what works the best).

An alternative use for sitelinks is using the additional link text to highlight the offer (even using the same landing page). For example, mentioning free delivery, sale offers and promos in the link text to help encourage a click and not use categories directly. Earlier this year, Google launched embedded/ enhanced ad sitelinks which serves as an easy way to automate sitelink selection based on what text ads are running in the campaign. Other introductions include click-to-call extensions (including a callable number on mobile ads) and location extensions (including addresses automatically from a Google Places account or a manually added entry).

Sitelinks are a great addition to any AdWords campaign and provide an easy, free benefit for searches where the ads is deemed ‘relevant’ and ‘authoritative’ enough for the sitelink to show. It’s a bit of an incentive for achieving top positions to make sure these can appear. We also recommend constantly reviewing sitelinks performance to see what works and if the sitelinks implemented actually match the intended consumer behaviour. It also provides an opportunity for testing different themes and call-to-actions which might feed insight into the search campaign itself.

More info available from Google here.

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Google Clickstream Research

We came across a piece of research that Google UK compiled last year which had interesting insight into the area of clickstream attribution. This involves areas of E-commerce such as how long the typical path to purchase is for an online consumer and how search contributes to decision-making. It’s particularly important in understanding that the “last click wins” model is outdated and that a fact-based approach informs consumers’ path to purchase.

Key findings of the report:

  • Research journeys are long and can last more than a month for some categories.
  • One in three conversions occurred 30 days after initial research. This was highest for Apparel (27 days), followed by Travel (24) with Loans (9) making up the shortest average journey length. It was interesting to note that apparel buyers took the most time to make up their mind, despite the average order value being comparatively low.
  • Apparel shoppers also spent the longest average research time with 3:17 hours per purchase. Loans was again the shortest with only 0:29 hours of research in each purchase. This would suggest retail shoppers aren’t in a hurry and take their time, in contrast with the finance shopper who simply wants a solution quickly.
  • Travel and Apparel categories saw the highest number of sites visits and different sites per purchase – more comparison research taking place. Travel had the highest number of searches per purchase.
  • 70% of purchases used search at some point (highest for Travel and Property).
  • 48% of purchasers switched between branded and generic search terms at some point in their online path to purchase. A good volume of consumers in categories like Mobile, Energy and Apparel have a good knowledge of the sector and navigate largely through brand terms which they already know.

The report concluded that consumer behaviour is intensive, complex and highly personal – to that end, as marketers we need to understand the full value of all online touch points including “assisting” clicks in the consumer path to conversion. Shoppers are now smarter, savvy and have easy and fast access to a wide knowledge base with online. They search branded and generic keywords across all stages of the online journey. Often, clicks do not generate any direct profit, but instead contribute to a later conversion and this is evident in the length of the purchase process. Moving away from a last click model is inevitable as multi-click journeys are worth more than single-click, and currently make up nearly half of all paid search conversions.

You can download the original report here.

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Bringing Life To Stock Images

Getty Images and Brazilian agency AlmapBBDo developed a 60 second ad using 873 stock images pieced together to tell a cute story and restoring our faith in the value of stock images.

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Local Data On The Go

If you’re search for restaurants on your mobile device you can now click on the business name to see reviews, photos, address and more details – similar to what you would already see on the desktop. This makes a great functionality when deciding on a place to eat. Swiping left or right shows you reviews of other results, making it easy for comparison.

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Eye Candy

Geekily deli.icio.us.

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Google AdWords Auction Insights Reveals Competition

Google have just announced on their blog a new report designed to “empower advertisers to make better informed optimisation decisions” by revealing who competes in the same auctions and comparing their performance. This report shows often the ads rank higher than that of advertisers as well as comparing the level of impressions they receive. This information would be crucial in making decisions about bidding, budgets and keyword choices. For example, we may want to avoid using heavily competitive terms or the data could perhaps be used to illustrate if additional budget would be valuable.

The AdWords ad auction has long been lacking transparency but these new metrics will allow us to develop some understanding of how the process works and provide a basis of making changes for better performance. It doesn’t reveal everything with statistics like geo-targeting, match type, CPC bidding or quality score still hidden. It only knows that an ad has been triggered by a given search term, to the same effect that a user could see when performing a search themselves. It aggregates the data of all auctions over the time period selected.

The Auction Insights report provides data at the keyword-level, and provides five different statistics: impression share, average position, overlap rate, position above rate, and top of page percent as below. It shows the display URL domain of the advertisers that have competed in the same auction. The five statistics explained below:

  • Impression share: percentage of time an ad appearing for the given keyword query
  • Average position: average ad rank on the search engine results page for a given keyword query
  • Overlap: percentage of time that the competing advertiser appears in the same auction
  • Position above range: percentage of time the other advertiser ranked higher in the search results
  • Top of page percent: percentage of time the advertiser appeared at the top of the page

Reports can be generated for one keyword at a time, and data is only available for keywords that meet a minimum threshold of activity for the time period specified. If you see this icon () to the left of a keyword in your statistics table on the Keyword tab, you’ll know that the Auction insights report is available for that keyword.

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Google Chrome Becomes World’s Most Popular Web Browser

For the first time in history Google Chrome overtook Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to become the world’s most popular web browser for a full week. Chrome had a weeklong surge in usage last week according to StatCounter. Chrome has previously overtaken IE for weekend usage but this is the first time it has had the top spot for a full week. Asia and South America contributed heavily to Chrome’s traffic boom, with Internet Explorer and Firefox remaining North America and Europe’s dominant web browsers. In India, Chrome held an 8 percent lead over Firefox, the country’s second most popular browser.

In New Zealand, Internet Explorer leads as the most popular browser but the gap between IE and Chrome has narrowed significantly since the start of the year. For a few days in April, Chrome usage did overtake that of IEs in NZ and all trends suggest Chrome is likely to be cemented as the browser of choice for NZ.

The news comes just days after Google announced plans to redesign how it displays search results. The company unveiled its new Knowledge Graph, promising it will upgrade its engines to go beyond searching for matching strings of characters, to actually understand users’ browsing habits.

Originally posted on V3.

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Semi-Permanent 2012

A couple of us were in attendance at the annual Semi-Permanent on Friday, a design conference of some of the world’s finest typographers, fashion designers and advertising creatives keen to share their ideas and lessons with the public.  The conference, now in it’s 10th year, celebrates individuals and agencies in the fields of film, fine art, illustration, digital design and more and has been hosted 29 times in five countries with over 200 speakers and 50,000 attendees.

This year’s show saw local comedian Te Radar as the MC for the day, with Special being the first speakers (and only kiwis) to take the stage. For the most part, they let the material (videos) speak for itself, the client campaigns demonstrating their steps to creative success. Being closer to our industry, it has been interesting to watch them develop from a semi-blank ad in the paper to a 20 person agency. One of their pieces was (of course) the Orcon/ Iggy Pop campaign, which I have always found controversial –  despite its success as a content generation and outstanding ad audience engagement, it didn’t lead to sales success to the point where Orcon moved to another agency. Also their rebranding of Ecostore directly contradicts the findings of my (sound, if I do say so myself) thesis on the topic… One of their lessons I thought was interesting was “turning weaknesses into strengths” demonstrated by channel Four’s rebranding as “home of not rugby” which helped lift viewership over the RWC time. Their Green Party campaign showed simplicity at its best, whilst the Smirnoff Night Projects showed how they could utilise the target audience’s own creativity to transform a campaign to a full TV show and media event. Here are their “8 special things” in its entirety:

  1. Think bigger than you are
  2. Don’t play by the rules, use deception
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Tell something interesting
  5. Back Yourself
  6. Collaborate
  7. Use the force to turn weakness into strength
  8. Have ludicrous self-belief

American designer Gmunk gave a very different presentation, almost narrative in structure with the first half covering his background leading to his achievement in being contracted to work on the recent Tron Legacy films. His journey was interesting to watch, seeing him develop from an illustrator to animator to video director and whatever he found himself in/ felt like. He had a variety of techniques and mediums  that showed his versatility while demonstrating common design elements and personality. There was also a lot of trends (e.g. geometry) appearing over some phases of his outputs. His work in Tron Legacy was much more technical in nature than some of his earlier work and served as a great reminder of how much work and thought does into a few minutes of animation. His personal site could do with a little SEO since it lacks indexable data!

The “godfather of sampling” Swifty spoke after our lunch period, and possibly due to personality or  organisation (or lack of) it wasn’t quite as structured or as easy to follow as the others. He showed various key pieces of his work and development, but we found it a bit harder to understand his creative process and over the second half, it felt like someone was flicking through Instagram reels telling us about an event that didn’t seem nearly as interesting as the success as he has achieved in his area. Some of the references don’t seem to work with the local audience and ultimately we didn’t walk out with a sense of how he managed to achieve the success he clearly has in the field. That being said, I think I do remember collecting Garbage Pail Kids when I was younger…

Twins Andrew and Mark Moffitt, founders of the agency Moffitt: Moffitt started their creative agency only 18 months ago but have quickly made an impact on the market over there. What surprised us was their devotion and time spent to their side projects such as a poster magazine called Demo where they collaborated with photographers and up and coming artists and Mart, a gallery where they even exhibited themselves. They also had some great fashion shoots of themselves. No shame in vanity.

Our favourite speaker of the day was Sydney-based paper engineer Benja Harney who demonstrated his passion which he was able to translate exceedingly well to a commercial environment. This included a window display for Hermes, promotional material for a TV show/network and the final project shown was a pop-up-book for Kylie Minogue. He detailed all steps of his creative process for this book, including errors encountered, ending with a trip to China to visit the factory where they were handmade. Each individual piece had to be cut with a custom “knife” and it was only at this stage if he knew the design was capable of being mass-produced. At the end, audience members made paper planes, which were thrown into the centre of the auditorium which made for a very cool spectacle (messy too!). I am a huge fan of paper engineering and love seeing how the simplicity of the medium can be translated to such captivating pieces. For anyone keen, here’s one site we’re really enjoying at the moment in this area, where great designs can be made through the patterns and instructions provided.

SouthSouthWest, a branding and design agency from Melbourne reminisced about how they developed from university students to develop their own agency and created projects for Nike, BikeFest as well as a brand new cider brand. The session didn’t quite stick out as much as the others hence while I can’t recall anything else.

Alex Trochut, a designer from Spain, gave us an interesting insight into the area of typography design and we quite appreciated his description of his approach to a new brief. It was different to see how he applied geometry and design rules to develop new and intricate typography to ensure not only that it was aesthetically pleasing but it also made sense. His session started by proclaiming he was a thief (and there is no such thing as originality without references) and in discussion of his pieces, he referenced a variety of other work to demonstrate what inspired him. This helped the audience to establish connections between the source work and how he ended up with his work (after a few different trials). He definitely came across as the type to test things and see what other approaches could work. Ultimately, as he puts it “It doesn’t matter where you get things from, it’s where you take them that matters”.

Scott and Justin from Australian ad agency of the year two years running, The Monkeys, closed the show after literally getting off the plane from Sydney earlier that day. Originally from Saatchi & Saatchi, they branched off after developing an original tv series and then later became a proper creative agency (whilst also still creating new tv series on the side). Recently, they did an interesting data visualisation for GE where users would either enter two keywords (of what concerns them the most in the future) and the data could be translated into a eye-catching and always changing light show. Made us think – what kind of visualisations could we do with our search data we have? They had our favourite video of the day, repositioning the Sydney Opera House using word, sound and power to tell a story that stays with you long after the ship has sailed.

verall, we had a ton of inspiration from great people from a varied number of industries all with something interesting to share about how they got to where they are today. One key theme across all the speakers was collaboration – whether this meant working with people who were more skilled in particular areas than themselves, such as in graphic coding, data visualisation or rubber duck building or collaboration in getting leads and projects from people they have networked with. It certainly applies in our industry with people certainly making (all) the difference. Another common theme across speakers was commercialisation. The agency speakers naturally geared towards commercial outcomes but others deviated either being opposed to ‘advertising’ or accepting bankable projects and exhibitions readily. Creativity can come in many forms and its great to see such different artists using their ideas in such different and exciting ways – despite this – all creativity ultimately works to evoke feeling and emotions from those that experience them.

In a nutshell: Knowledge ≠ Power. Creative = Power!


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