The benefits of Google Analytics 360

Businesses across the world are finding that the benefits of Google Analytics 360 outweigh the initial time and capital investment. As with any premier service, there is a fee to upgrade from the standard (free) version to the full suite and thus, many enterprises in South Africa have chosen to continue using the former.

But clearer, deeper understanding of your data underpins industry trend predictions and highlights vital patterns. If you’re after insights of this nature, then Google Analytics 360 is the way to go.

Our specialist teams in Kansas City and Cape Town have compiled a quick-read introduction to GA360:

Conversion Science is one of the few digital marketing agencies in South Africa to have achieved the status of Google Analytics 360 Partner.  Previously, we had relied on a thorough understanding of Google Analytics to provide our clients with a better return on investment in their online marketing campaigns. Now, with consulting experience in GA360 under our belts, we’re in a position to compare both services and highlight the benefits of switching over to the premium version. 

And these benefits are numerous.

Here, we’ll cover some GA360’s more prominent features. Those that have proven significant and valuable in the complete and insightful service that we provide at Conversion Science.

You Get the Complete Data Picture

With Google Analytics 360 you are provided with all of your data. The standard version of Google Analytics will start showing you sampled data once you cross the hit threshold. This means that the GA data snapshot is based on a subset of visitor data instead of the complete visitor data set. Sampled data leads to discrepancies flowing from incompleteness. It could in fact be a driver of poor decision making.

You Get that Data RegularlyGoogle Analytics 360

By the same token, data freshness plays a major role in our ability to continually optimize campaigns. With Google Analytics 360 1st-party data is collected, processed and available in reports split into 10 – 60 minute intervals. Thus, data is updated every 4 hours. Now compare this to the standard version which is updated only once a day.

You Get All the Information in One Place

Another big feature of Google Analytics 360 lies in its easy integration with complementary Google Marketing products and with 3rd party software such as Salesforce and Adobe Analytics.

And, when you sign up to Google Analytics 360, you automatically gain access to the entire range of products offered on the Google Marketing Platform. These are:

  • Google Analytics 360 – Plan, measure, and optimize all online marketing activities.
  • Google Audience Centre– Understand your audience via the sleek, super Data management platform.
  • Google BigQuery – Handle or analyse big data using this web service.
  • Tag Manager 360– Manage all website tags from a single web interface.
  • Google Optimize 360 – Implement A/B testing, website testing, mobile app testing etc
  • Display & Video 360– Manage campaigns across display, video, TV, audio and other channels.
  • Google Data Studio– Access a simple yet effective dashboard and reporting tool.

These are very powerful tools that work seamlessly together.

We’ve found the ready integration of DoubleClick and Google Analytics 360 particularly useful!

Imagine seeing DoubleClick metrics right there in your Google Analytics interface.  The combination of these metrics and dimensions with GA360 allows you to analyse ad costs and revenue based on visitor activity on your website. In the same way, Google Analytics 360 works side-by-side with DoubleClick Bid Manager, Campaign Manager, DoubleClick for Publishers and DoubleClick Search. It all makes for great insight. 

With Google Analytics 360 you’ll get the advantage that your online business needs to take it into 2020 and beyond.

Still not convinced? Touch base and we will, as ever, show you the proof

Leveraging Data Science for Deeper Business Insights

So goes the tale; Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML). From the public to the private sector, these have formed part of the whirlwind that has indicated that a company or industry is clued-in on the future. Since the late 1700s when the first industrial revolution was documented, the generation of skills, language of the economy, and the influence of technology on our world has changed tremendously.

Industrialization from the late 1700’s to present . Source: Roser. C @ AllAboutLean.com

In the present day, computational power has connected all tools of production and  introduced automated ways of assessing their efficiency. Today more than ever, software and hardware systems are agile and applicable to all industries across various functions in an organisation.

This computational power has revolutionised the world of work and elevated traditional ways of performing tasks. Many, if not all, existing and emerging industries stand to gain from the increased computational power and innovative technology available on the market today. Today we know more about our customers because we have enough data to predict trends beyond our gut-feeling and as a result we are able to make better strategic and operational decisions.

When analysing data, it’s often taken for granted that we are gathering the right data, measuring the right metrics within said data, and that the sources from which we are getting the data are being integrated into our analytics tools in a comparable manner. Tasks such as data sanity checks, reviewing data cleaning processes, testing various hypotheses and analysing the nature and impact of ‘lost’ data are often neglected for the more glamorous parts of business insights such as data dashboards and reports. If we are to make data driven decisions, then we need a team that can ensure that we are analysing and predicting our future on data that is extracted with understanding, analysed with the right tools and techniques, and presented with the business needs in mind.

This is where the true power of a Data Science team comes in. Practitioners in the field who extract deeper and more actionable insights from data form an integral part of data storytelling. The team extracts data (responsibly), conducts data analysis and visualisation, applies machine learning model design and predictions, and has capabilities to automate the whole process. All this is done with the help of continuous and rigorous research. In practice, the team uses data that is being collected but currently not being analysed.

Ultimately, the mandate of any team is to use the best methods possible in order to offer satiable insights and under the leadership of digital marketing experts. But, an effective data team is able to tailor these techniques to fit marketing best practices and overall industry needs.

As with many future facing concepts, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are often framed as solutions looking for questions. However, the case-use approach the Conversion Science data team has implemented clearly demarcates the use of Artificial Intelligence as a guiding technique and Machine Learning as a core tool. Although the projects we are working on are experimental in nature, we are applying theoretical research to real-world scenarios where actionable insights can be applied. With a growing amount of data there is no cap on the potential of this kind of analysis. In doing so we hope to offer greater value and continue to lead the digital marketing space.

 

Conversion Science Chosen as Google Marketing Platform Partner

Conversion Science announced today that they have been selected as Google Marketing Platform Partner and has received certification for Analytics 360, making them one of a handful Premium Google Partners to achieve this status in South Africa.

Conversion Science is a Search Engine Marketing and Analytics agency focused on running highly optimized performance campaigns. The agency specializes in return on investment marketing through Google AdWords, Facebook advertising, YouTube advertising, Conversion Optimization, Paid Media Strategy, Google Analytics and Training & Consulting.

Google Marketing PlatformGoogle Analytics 360 partners provide data strategy, data collection, testing, reporting, and dashboard services for websites and mobile apps. Partners are vetted by Google and meet rigorous standards so that their clients can trust that they are working with a company who know Google solutions and can provide the expertise they are looking for.

Conversion Science is led by Ariel Sumeruk, an SEM veteran with a PHD in theoretical physics, who has a sound understanding of how to utilize the machine learning tools such as automated bidding for clients to ensure peak performance of their campaigns.

“At Conversion Science, we use data and strategic insight to continually analyse and adjust campaigns to achieve results and maximise ROAS. We are excited to get access to features that are unique to Analytics 360, as well as access to behind the scenes technical information which will help us provide even better service to our Google analytics clients,” said Sumeruk.

For more information, visit www.conversionscience.co.za

If You’re Not Advertising on Twitter, You should Be!

Twitter is known as a social platform, a news service, or even a miniature blog. But how many businesses regard it as being a

powerful marketing resource? Twitter is the perfect medium to spread the digital word about your brand.

With over 500 million Tweets created by an estimated 68 million monthly users, Twitter crafts telling and accurate profiles based on interests, wants and needs. In South Africa there are circa 8 500 000 daily users, each giving off strong signals based on their behaviour on Twitter. This equates to numerous opportunities for advertisers to create ads to target relevant users.

Scale your Audience with Promoted Tweets

Promoted Tweets are no more than normal Tweets with a larger “range” based on how much budget is put behind them. The rationale behind promoting (boosting) a tweet is to allow it an extended reach. A regular tweet has limited exposure owing to the Twitter Algorithms. All Promoted Tweets are clearly labelled “promoted” so that the user is aware that what they are reading is indeed an ad. Marketers who are willing to allocate budget to ensure that their Tweet reaches a wider audience are able to showcase their brand in an impactful, relevant and real-time way

Promoted Tweets can be shown anywhere on Twitter. Users may see them on search pages, timelines and even profiles. They are targeted to relevant audiences based on language, gender, user interests, followers of handles, device. Location and keywords. In addition to this, a marketer may even target email addresses from CRM systems. Or may elect to remarket to existing users. This is a powerful range of possibilities that places content in front of an audience who is likely to engage with it. It’s the beauty of a Promoted Tweet – you can manage costs, leverage messages and align with objectives.

How to use Promoted Tweets to drive app downloads.

Promoted Tweets can be used to drive app installs by attaching an app card to them. The app card not only allows you to showcase your app to users but comes complete with an actionable button which encourages an easy, direct manner of installing the app. Twitter is after all a mobile-first platform and is therefore perfect for promoting app downloads.

If you are running a paid app download campaign, it is critical that Twitter is part of the mix. Not only is it a great medium but will also help you benchmark other paid platforms while allowing you to better spend your budgets across the most profitable channels.

Using Promoted Tweets to Drive Website Traffic and Conversions

Keen to get people to visit and engage with your website, fill out a form, complete an action?   This is where website cards are indispensable.   A website card allows you to feature an image, a URL and a Call-to-action in one potent tweet package. The card is attached to the Promoted tweet and is targeted to the correct audience.  When used in tandem with Conversion Tracking, performance may be measured and insights garnered as to the effectiveness of the tracking

The Twitter Method of Rating Campaigns

Twitter rewards advertisers who are adhering to best practice guidelines. These marketers fall into a high performance category and pay less for their exposure on Twitter.  Furthermore, ads with high engagement are favoured in the auctions. By following best practices and getting high engagements on ads you will be outranking high-bidding competitors

Twitter uses a metric called “Ad Score”. This score determines which ad wins an auction to show an ad to a user.

Total Score = Probability of engagement x Max bid

Probability of engagement comprises the following

  1. User engagement of the current ad
  2. Current users’ historical engagement rate of ads
  3. Account and campaigns performance history.

 

The importance of website tracking

Tracking has many advantages:

By Installing a website tag and connecting it to your twitter account, you may determine which efforts are yielding the best marketing harvest.

With the tracking tag, you can also take advantage of automated bid strategies to drive conversions.

And, Tracking facilitates the creation of audience lists. Audience lists are based on user behaviour: recording conversions, sign-ups or even grouping users who have systematically visited certain product or brand pages.

Tagging effectively and Accurately

Place a snippet of website tag code on every page of your website.

This can also be done on Google Tag Manager for greater accuracy.

Don’t forget to tag your mobile site, if you have one, as most of the traffic would typically emanate from there.  Also, remember to adjust the window period for conversions based on the sales cycle of an item.

This is just an overview of the ways to get your business noticed on Twitter.  Of course there is much more to it but get started now.  In the digital world, there really is no time like the present. Spread your reach to a wide range of followers, utilise all the options that Twitter’s social ecosystem has to offer and dare we say: Give your brand wings!

 

An Introduction to Google Smart Shopping Campaigns

Smart Shopping was introduced by Google in 2018 signifying another step towards automated and machine-learning focused advertising. Tested and developed under the universal shopping beta banner, this new feature made its debut in Google’s goal-optimised portfolio on 8th May 2018.

So, how does Smart Shopping differ from its hugely successful predecessor, Google Shopping? And is it right for your digital advertising objectives? Conversion Science has garnered some insights over the past couple of months and before you pause all your regular Shopping campaigns and embrace Smart Shopping 100%, we suggest that you weigh up the pros, cons and limitations pretty carefully.

Smart Shopping in a nutshell…..

….Is a feature which marries the visual appeal of Google Shopping and the dynamic flexibility of responsive remarketing in a campaign. Google promises expanded reach of your ads over the Search Network, the Display Network, YouTube and even Gmail.  Using your existent product feed and assets, injected with machine learning, a host of relevant ad permutations are created. The strategy based on automated bidding, ad placement and ongoing testing of text and image combinations is geared to provide you with the best possible conversion value for any given budget. .

Smart Shopping definitely has its Pros……

If you’ve experienced the tedium and heavy lifting of setting campaign priorities, product groups, bids and negative keywords in traditional shopping campaigns, you’re bound to agree that there is a lot of allure in this new low maintenance, self-driving campaign subtype.  Now smaller businesses with limited budgets can also qualify for an unprecedented reach and the maximised conversion technology of automated bidding.

It’s a great tool for vendors to access upper funnel users. In this stage of intent, brands are explored, discovered and introduced. With Google Smart Shopping, you can group a selection of products together and present them to users or even showcase a catalogue of related items. These showcase ads will display for broader/ generic terms such as “T-Shirt”, and a useful format to utilise when trying to influence brand consideration higher up in the conversion funnel. With maximum CPE (Cost Per Engagement) bidding you only get charged  when someone expands your ad, spends 10 seconds in it or if a product or link is clicked on.  The first click on your ad is effectively free. Perfect for start-up ventures!

Plus Smart Shopping is simple to use!

Merely set your campaign budget. Set your target. And allow Google automation and machine learning to do the rest for you.

There are a few requirements before you get started:

  • You must have a Google Ads and Merchant Centre Account
  • Your product feed should be uploaded and approved on your Merchant Centre Account
  • You must be tracking transaction specific conversion values (allowing the algorithm to optimise towards return on ad spend)
  • Ensure that you have a remarketing global site tag on your website
  • A minimum of 20 conversions in a period of 45 days across existing shopping campaigns is required
  • You must have an audience list comprising more than 100 users

And, finally, adhere to the Google personalised advertising policy

Right, sounds easy enough. So, what’s the catch?

Well, as with any Smart type tools, there are a couple of drawbacks.

Expect to sacrifice some of the granular control that you have grown accustomed to – after all Smart Shopping is part of the bigger drive toward an automated (read labour-free) solution. The promise? You can sit back and focus on other high-level tasks. The caveat? You have to let Google do much of the driving

Reporting-wise, limitations may be summed up as follows:

  • You cannot segment by placement to determine which networks are performing better, thus you can’t identify whether your shopping component is performing better than your display component.
  • Columns that are not available are search impression share, click share, search lost (budget and Search lost (Rank)

Targeting restrictions are:

  • No settings available for negative keyword control
  • Location targeting is limited to country of sale but region or even city exclusion cannot be specified
  • The Ad schedule feature is not available
  • One cannot target specific devices
  • You do not have control over the target audience

Moreover:

  • Shared budgets are not available
  • To date, Smart shopping campaigns are not supported by Google AdWords Editor.

Keep in mind that any machine learning requires time to optimise.   Allow a new campaign to run for at least 15 days before you assess its performance. Furthermore, the bidding strategy needs time to settle and adapt. Accrue enough data to ensure that your reports are meaningful. Google suggests 2-3 weeks of data.

Remember to focus on conversion value and not on clicks. As the bid strategy allocates budget towards clicks that maximise conversion value, you may see an initial decline in click volumes.

Note that it is crucial that conversion delays are adjusted for in any data analysis.

So, in conclusion

Smart Campaigns would appear to be a bit of a mixed blessing.

On the upside, you’re handing over control.

In the smart world of automation, time-consuming and laborious tasks typical of managing a full-sized Google Shopping Campaign are a thing of the past. Smart Sopping frees you up to undertake the strategic stuff.

On the downside? You’re handing over control.

As an account manager, you will probably miss those tweaks like prioritising certain products within a single campaign or those cost-mitigating tricks of the trade like preventing your ads from showing up in tandem with low-intent queries.

With Smart Campaigns you lose the ability to fine tune aspects which would have previously given a campaign the competitive edge.

It’s early days yet but let’s face it, ultimately, Google automation and machine learning in any form challenges the micro manager in every one of us!

 

 

In-Market Audience Feature Available

We spotted it on the AdWords Editor on the 1st of May. Now, the In-Market Audience Feature can be accessed for Search purposes. This is a valuable opportunity for Advertisers to connect with consumers at the critical moment of a decision to purchase.

In 2017, Google presented their AdWords Product Roadmap detailing plans for innovations and BETAs to make targeting more granular and thus, more effective. Google’s In-Market Audience feature for Search is just one of these advancements.

Bongoletu Gedeza, a Junior Campaign Manager at Conversion Science explains how the In-Market Audience feature will be leveraged to boost sales online:

The In-Market Audience Defined:

In-market audience comprises potential customers that are actively searching on the Google Display Network for products and/or services that are like products and services you provide. This audience shows potential purchasing power by browsing multiple websites across the internet.

Google classifies the in-market audience into categories that are related to its interests. For example, Autos & Vehicles, Baby & Children’s Products, Consumer Electronics etc.

How In-Market Audiences Work

So, what differentiates an in-market audience from other interest or affinity audiences? Google states that they can distinguish interest from purchaser’s intent by using real-time data to categorise a potential customer with intent to buy. Google will investigate metrics like:

  • the content of sites visited by the user
  • the proximity and frequency of these visits
  • account clicks on related ads
  • subsequent conversions

This is then used to determine a purchaser’s intent. In this manner, Google can classify users, targeting those most interested in an advertiser’s offering.

This allows advertisers to expand their reach in new ways to specifically include people engaged in comparison shopping and actively researching with intent to buy. Instead of reaching only the “hand raisers” (people who have expressed interest in certain categories), advertisers will be reaching “signallers” (people who are giving off signals that they are truly ready to buy). In addition, reaching consumers further along down the conversion funnel should intuitively mean more conversions and better ROI.

Advertisers Switch it on!

When starting a new campaign, an advertiser will need to configure their targeting settings to specify where they want to appear and to whom. Targeting includes placement (topic, context etc.) and audience targeting. Your In-market audience forms part of audience targeting.

Google classifies users as in-market based on their activities across the Google Display Network; a classification which is based on clicks on certain ads, purchases and other interactive activities in websites. Actions give Google an indication as to what consumer’s interests are and what interest category they would belong to.

Let’s say a retail online store is selling fitness apparel and looking for consumers who are ready to make a purchase.  Their distinct objective is to promote a fashionable yet functional range of tracker accessories.  Google will compile an audience comprised of users who search and visit performance gear websites, engage with ads which promote health technology, and actively compare prices or reviews on associated gadgets. Based on previous conversions and interest shown, an algorithm is executed, and the likelihood of a purchase being made, predicted. The consumers identified, would be included in the in-market audience list as potential buyers in a Fitness Apparel/ Technology category; possibly a sub-category of Apparel and Accessories.

Clients Benefit!

In-market audience is very useful for campaigns that have clearly defined sales objectives. It helps advertisers to reach “window shoppers” with intent to buy – consumers that are on the verge of making a purchasing decision. Using information on the behaviour of these consumers can help advertisers capture the interest of potential consumers that would convert.

One of the best practises of using of an in-market audience is when it is used in Remarketing campaigns. If an advertiser targets a consumer that has already been on their website (Remarketing) and is showing online behaviour that expresses that he/she is ready to buy, a conversion is more likely.

By routinely identifying an In-Market Audience for each campaign, the process of tracking consumers with purchasing potential and desire is simplified.  Search would appear to be less geared toward flagging keywords and more focussed on behaviours. Google’s predefined Segmentation list is by no means exhaustive but as with most of their innovations, the learning is ongoing and the improvement self-evident.