Akhila Sheshadri

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UK PPC Campaign Optimization Tips for Property Advertisers

Property market conditions are currently weak in much of Europe. Yet several European markets, including the UK and Sweden, have showed signs of stabilisation in late 2012. (Source: Yahoo! Finance)

Showing positive signs, UK property prices have also seen a modest increase in May 2013. Also, the Council of Mortgage Lenders forecast that the UK will see 95,0000 property transactions during 2013, up by 15% over 2012.

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With most homes typically sold during the warmer summer months, advertisers in the property business should optimize their campaigns now especially as the mortgage rates are at historic lows in UK, loans are becoming more liquid, and monetary incentives are available for home buyers.

Most people now start their search for a new home online. According to this online estate agency, 88% of the home searches start online with two third of the researchers being women under age 45.

Below are a few recommendations designed to help you maximize your success with Bing Ads.

Keywords:

An analysis of keywords being used by successful property advertisers shows a diverse portfolio including brand, sales and rental as well as localized terms:

Brand terms: Less experienced advertisers often neglect their own brand, assuming they appear on top of the organic listings anyway. When a brand name appears in both organic and paid search results it helps build your brand awareness among the audience.

Sales & rental terms: receipt both the keyword lists for home sales or rentals are essential for any property advertisers. This is the area where to invest time to build out a robust list of long-tail keywords.

Generic terms: Generic terms such as just “homes”, “apartments” or “property” are great for driving volume but obviously have low CTR. They can be very powerful though when used in a targeted state or metro area campaign to reach the right audience in the right place. Below listed are few generic property terms:

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To ensure you do not exclude people in other areas with a high purchase intent we recommend to set the advanced location options as shown below:

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Localized terms: Most of the larger advertisers run national as well as localized campaigns. The keyword “houses” alone will likely drive a lot of traffic to your site but generate low conversions. “London houses” or “houses in “London” is much more precise. Creating localized terms is time consuming but rewarding. Combine your seed term (e.g. 2 bedroom apartment) with a specific city, neighborhood or postcode.

Bidding and Seasonality:

Property seasonality changes with weather patterns. New Year being the search period, summer is the most preferred season for home buyers and movers. Placing a competitive bid is important as making a qualified offer. Highest click volume and best CTR is typically seen in the mainline, meaning those ads that appear right above the organic results.

Average bids & average CPC for the property terms are £0.89 & £0.32 respectively.

Bid on all match types. If you run on broad only, adding exact and phrase can greatly improve your CTR, often at lower costs per click. We recommend the bid for exact match to be slightly higher than for other match types.

Ad copy:

Property agents know that location matters as the value of a home is determined to a large extent by geography. If you advertise on search engines you also know that for paid search location matters, too. Your ad performs very differently by position. On Bing Ads, it is estimated that close to 70% of the clicks are from ads appearing in the mainline positions. Dynamic insertion is a must-have for advertisers in the property business. Since many user searches are tied to a location, you want to see this location reflected in the ad copy.

Landing page:

Bing Ads can help you drive more traffic to your website, but the road to conversions happens on your website. Home buyers specifically find features like photos, detailed information on the property, virtual tours and interactive maps particularly useful when using property websites. The more your technology is equipped to fulfill these expectations the more successful your campaign will be.

Demographics & Incremental Bidding

Incremental bidding offers additional opportunity to reach your preferred audience by increasing bids specifically for the target customers. Here’s an example of how it works:

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Using this feature on Bing Ads, you can target your right audience at better positions for optimum results. 55% of property searchers are women and fall in the age group of 25 – 49.

The easiest way of course is to let us do the work for you. Contact us and we’ll do the optimization work for you. Our search experts are more than happy to help. Another quite simple way is to export your already optimized campaigns from another search engine. Just use “Import from Google AdWords” from the main menu in Bing Ads and follow the instructions.

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UK Father’s Day 2013: Lots of Opportunities for Online Marketers

Valentine’s and Mother’s Day are in the books, now it is time to think of Dad. With Father’s Day approaching quickly on June 16th, advertisers across various industries have a unique opportunity to market their products and services.

Last year we saw close to 40% increase in traffic to the key verticals on the Yahoo! Bing network (1). More specifically, generic father’s and father’s day gifts terms saw close to 75% between April and June 2012.Special outings, (for example a trip to the golf course, a visit to a sports event or dinner at a restaurant) electronics, apparel, gift cards, sporting goods and books & music are the most popular father’s day gift categories. So, it’s commercially a key day for marketer offering products and services (presents) for Father’s Day in these categories. We predict that the numbers for 2013 might even be bigger.

To be prepared for the expected surge of traffic across search engines optimizing your account in May is crucial for a successful campaign. Trends on Yahoo! Bing network show that the online research begins about one month to three weeks before Father’s day.

To help small businesses to get the most out of your Bing Ads campaign we collected a few tips what to look for when preparing your account for Father’s Day.

 Keywords

  • Create a dedicated Father’s Day campaign to catch the attention of undecided shoppers. In 2012, searches for the keyword “Father’s Day” and “Father’s Day  Gifts” grew continuously since mid-May with a big spike in the last week before the event. On Father’s Day itself the number of searches jumped up by 75% compared to the day before. This indicates that small businesses can drive a lot of potential shoppers to physical stores until the very last minute. (1)

 

  • Few top terms which saw increased traffic due to the seasonal factor are listed below (1):

  • Bid on all match types ideally with the highest bid on exact. This is important because exact match typically delivers at higher CTR with lower costs per click.
  • Place competitive bids for your most important keywords. You want the associated ads to show in the mainline. It is estimated that these 3 positions receive up to 70% of the total clicks. Below listed is the estimated KPIs for key categories impacted by Father’s Day (1)

Ad Copy

  • Highlight your best offers and deals for Father’s Day
  • Mention “Father’s Day” in your ad copies to grab audience attention
  • Promote shipping options such as free shipping, discounts and coupons, guaranteed delivery for last minute gift shopping.

Targeting

  • Bing Ads offers variety of targeting options including: device, day and time of the week, demographics along with the location targeting.
  • Searchers in the age group 25 – 49 account close to 60% of the searches (1). So, you might be interested in our incremental bidding feature

  • Incremental bidding offers an additional opportunity to reach your preferred audience by increasing bids for specifically targeted customers. Here’s an example how it works:

 

The easiest way of course is to let us do the work.  Contact us and we’ll do the optimization work for you. Our search experts are more than happy to help.

Another quite simple way is to export your already optimized campaigns from another search engine. Just use “Import from Google AdWords”  from the main menu in Bing Ads and follow the instructions.

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(1)   Bing Ads Intelligence Tool

 

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UK Summer Retail: Travel Time Implies Travel Shopping!

Are you bored of the dull British weather, like most Brits? Cheer up, spring is on its way and I hope to see some sunshine and warm weather soon after an extended winter. But, as Simone said in her travel post, I am sure most of you were trying to beat the cold weather researching and booking your most awaited summer break to your favourite destinations. We all surely deserve a good summer break. I have booked my travel around Italy to refresh and relive the Roman culture and heritage. If you haven’t booked yours, book them now, it’s never too late to book a holiday?

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From commercial perspective, summer retail is gaining more and more importance as a key period for retailers . Most retailers have their spring/summer collection and deals campaigns up and running  by now. According to PwC, 73% of the retailers had summer sale last year compared to 40% three years ago - highlighting the importance of the summer retail season for the UK retailers.

For advertisers using search engines to promote their products it is good news that this year again online retail is expected to grow by 12% to a total of £87 billion spent online according to IMRG. IMRG also suggest that  UK online sales increased by 13% this February - mostly attributed to Valentine’s day and mother’s day. Continuing gloomy weather and an increasing tech savvy customer base is expected to boost online sales this summer. Summer will create many opportunities to connect millions of consumers through the Yahoo! Bing network with advertisers offering the perfect trend- and shopping experience to customers.

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It’s not just me, trends on Yahoo! Bing network show that starting April, Brits actively start looking online for latest clothing trends, jewelry, footwear, bags and others accessories and deals. Search marketers should begin optimizing their campaigns early April to capitalise on the optimal online buying window.

Based on a selection of popular summer retail keywords we saw close to 50% increase in traffic from April to August with a significant peak between May and June with last minute shoppers. April to May is mostly the research period when shoppers are looking for latest trends of the year and best deals with increased sales happening after May June. This behavior was reflected with higher impressions and clicks and also increased CTR starting June, as we get closer to the peak summer time between May and August (for last minute travellers).

Top Terms: Impressions versus Clicks

Source: Bing Ads Intelligence Tool and Internal Tool

It is crucial to time your campaign and be up to date with the audience searching trends and needs through the seasonal period:

  • Ramp up campaigns in early-April to capture early researches
  • Update your campaigns for any key events and bank holidays
  • Refine campaigns for traffic spikes prior to the key holiday period between May and June
  • Engage with last minute travelers and shoppers post July
  • Promote e-delivery and guaranteed delivery

Here are a few tips how to optimize your campaigns effectively:

1. Optimise keywords:

  • Compare your campaign terms with our comprehensive Vertical Keyword Lists for any missing keywords. We created some lists here that may help you.
  • Bid on all match types ideally with the highest bid on exact, play around and choose your best matches. But make sure you don’t stick just to one.
  • Place competitive bids for your most important keywords. You want those to show in the mainline (position 1 through 4) where click volume is much higher.
  • Below listed are the KPIs (Avg. Bids, Avg. CPC & Avg. CTR) for the key summer product lines. Make sure to expand further on the below product lines with concatenating terms like online, sale, offers, cheap, latest, trendy and others. Use Bing Ads Intelligence Tool to find out the estimated Bids and other KPIs for your keywords.

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Source: Bing Ads Intelligence Tool

Avg. Bid and Avg. CPC across all product lines are at £1.19 and £0.40 respectively. To find recent performance data for your keywords you can leverage our Excel-based Bing Ads Intelligence tool which is available for download in the Bing Ads tool section.

2. Revise Ad Copy:

Write appealing adverts making sure it reads your customers minds & needs, up to date with latest offers & deal and targeted at right audience

  • Highlight latest trends, offers, discounts and promotions.
  • Write targeted ads (demographics) to attract the right audience.
  • Write creative adverts including compelling call to actions like buy now, order today and others.
  • Promote shipping options such as free shipping, next day delivery and guaranteed delivery for last minute holiday shoppers.

3. Leverage Mobile Devices:

The percentage of consumers especially in younger age groups using smartphones or tablets to research products and prices, redeem coupons or engage in ‘showrooming’ will likely grow this year again. According to IMRG, mobile sales in UK is growing drastically. During 2012, we saw more than 300% increase in mobile sales YOY. This trend with mobile sales is continuing even in 2013. Mobile sales grew MOM by close to 200% during February 2013. A new study suggests 4G is also expected to bring £1.8bn retail boost this year, 113% surge in mobile shopping.

With Bing Ads’ ability to target by device you can set up specific campaigns for mobile devices only and optimize separately for PCs and mobile. Read more on Mobile Advertising through Yahoo! Bing network.

You cater with travel products and services or you are into retail, summer is a key seasonality. Get started today and shape your campaigns for this summer today. Contact us for any Yahoo! Bing network support – whether you are setting up a new campaign or optimizing an existing one.

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Spring is in the Air! Get Ahead of the Annual Home & Garden Traffic Peak

You don’t need as much as a daffodil to peek its head out of the soil for the nation to start feeling passionate about outdoor furniture, new wallpaper and power tools. We like people being this predictive as it means we can help you to get your pay per click accounts in order nice in time before traffic on home & garden terms surges.

Trend lineTraditionally traffic starts to spike in March and continues throughout April, May and June before interest drops off a bit in July (1) - perhaps as many people are on holidays. So if Home & Garden matters to you, February is the time to start optimizing your accounts to make sure you’re in good shape before traffic peaks. Home furnishings, home wares, appliances and gardens all peaked during Spring on Bing Ads last year (2).

Pie chart

According to Mintel (1) the graphs below depict the key home & garden categories of last year. So make sure to optimize your accounts in time for the coming seasonality.

Pie Charts

To help you achieve your goals we have collected five quick tips how to make your search campaign more effective.

Targeting – Make the best of our new super smart targeting services

One new feature in Bing Ads is designed to improve your targeting capabilities. Let’s assume you offer garden maintenance services in the London area. In the past you would pick the option to show your ads to people in your targeted location. But if I were a London home owner but lived in Manchester and rented my house in I would never see your ad, as I am outside your target zone. Still I could certainly need your services. In this case the targeting option above is designed to make that happen. Because even if I’d search for ‘garden maintenance London’ in Manchester, Bing Ads understands my intent and shows me your ad, despite the target area being still London.

Advanced location optionsBidding – Worry free bidding on top positions

Small business owners especially are often hesitant to bid for top positions, but with the budget controls you have set you shouldn’t. The chart below shows you click-through rates (CTR) for some house and garden sub-categories. The blue column shows the overall CTR, orange is CTR for main line positions (typically 1 through 4, shown on top of the page) and finally grey is for position 1 only. It is obvious to see where most click are happening (3).

CTR by Category and PositionBut aren’t my costs exploding when bidding or the main line? Not really: as shown below, costs per lick in the mainline are on average £0.04 more expensive (3). You can expect to receive approximately 100% more CTR with close to 20% increase in costs (CPC).

CPC by Category and Position

Keywords – Let our keyword list help you find missing keywords and bid smartly

Refer to our comprehensive keyword lists to identify any missing top keywords and make sure they describe all of your products and services. We suggest you to bid on all match types, with the highest bid on exact match because typically you will see the higher CTRs and lower CPCs on exact match.

Ad Copy – Get under the skin of your customers

Brits are mainly looking online for wider choice, great deals & offers and generous bargains & discounts. People are getting more environment conscious and eco-friendly. So, promoting organic and environmental friendly solutions with your ads could give you a distinct advantage. We recommend testing new ad copy regularly and running three to four ads per ad group. Monitor their performance and remove or pause underperforming ads.

Thanks!

Akhila

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(1) Mintel: Home & Garden Industry Reports, 2012

(2) HitWise: House & Garden Industry Profile

(3) Bing Ads Internal Data; 2012

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UK: All You Need is Love (and some conversions too) Optimizing for Valentine’s Day

We all love the “Day of Love” with Romeos looking out for their Juliet and expressing their love and passion for one another. Valentine’s Day is also a huge commercial opportunity, the time when brands go into romantic marketing overdrive.

The UK audience spent a total of £5.4 billion online during February 2012, 10% up YoY – which is the equivalent of £106 per person according to IMRG & Capgemini e-Retail Index. Valentine’s Day presents gave a significant boost to the ecommerce sector last year especially those areas associated with romance and gifts.

Gifts shipments rose by 26% MoM and 22% YoY during February 2012. Lingerie & Health & Beauty sectors saw close to 30% YoY increase with British shoppers splashing out on treats for their loved ones. Alcohol sales grew by 21% over January highlighting the end of Post-Christmas detox period.

Top Valentine Presents

Although Valentine’s Day is not a sales opportunity as big as Christmas it has a significant impact on the retail sales of the most popular Valentine’s Day items and products.

Valentine’s cards are the most searched Valentine’s gift online and receive searches five times as large as flowers.

Flowers & Valentine’s gifts not surprisingly are two of the best performing product groups for any romantic occasion and make up the biggest chunk of the budget of an individual spending on such special occasion. 6.7 million internet visits were made to the flowers & gifts shopping categories during the week ending 11th of February 2011. Searchers spent in total 830,000 hours on websites researching and buying these products.

Valentine’s lingerie is the fastest moving Valentine gift YoY, up 10in February 2012. Most popular lingerie colours being: black, red and pink & white. 1 During February 2012, we saw close to 50% increase in traffic from desktops & a massive 140% increase in traffic from mobile devices (smartphones & tablets) MoM from Jan 2011 for generic terms from the categories above.         

Source: Bing Ads Intelligence Tool

For some Valentine’s gifts - for example beauty articles – online searches on the Yahoo/Bing network last year peaked mid-January.  Restaurant searches spiked towards end of January, when early reservations were being made. Sweets and chocolates were most popular in early February, while women’s clothing and flowers reached their peak right on Valentine’s Day.

Match type

As a best practice we recommend to bid on all match types (exact, phrase and broad) for each keyword. The highest bid should go to exact, as you typically see better click-through rates and lower costs per click associated with exact match. Bing Ads Intelligence Tool suggests that “Exact” is the best performing match type for key Valentine seasonal terms with best CTR.

Source: Bing Ads Intelligence Tool

Broad match captures more variations of a keyword but can lead to unwanted traffic. If you use broad match, try the ‘broad match modifier’. By adding a plus sign to a term within your keyword string (example: Valentine’s Day + Flowers) your ad will actually only appear if the word ‘flowers’ was in the search someone typed in. 

Bidding & Budget

With additional traffic expected in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day please check your daily or monthly budget settings. You certainly want to avoid your ads not showing due to limited funding.

Competition will heat up the closer we get to Valentine’s Day. Keywords perform best when on top of the listings, so bidding competitively is always a good strategy.  An easy way to calculate the right bid without overspending is either to follow the bid suggestions under the opportunities tab in Bing Ads or to install Bing Ads Intelligence, which offers rich data on any given keyword including number and average costs per click, click-through rates by position and match type.  A download is available in the tools section of Bing Ads.

Valentine Bid Suggestion:

Average. Bid & CPC for the generic Valentine’s terms to be in the top 3 positions are £2.45 & £0.62. Estimated Average. Bid & CPC on Exact Match is around £1.86 & £0.51

Source: Bing Ads Intelligence Tool

Find the average. CPC & Avg. bids for some top seasonal terms are below:

Source: Bing Ads Intelligence Tool

Valentine Demographic Targeting

Using the Incremental Bidding feature on Bing Ads, you can target the right audience at better positions for optimum results. 66% of the searchers for generic Valentine terms are women and fall in the age group of 25 – 49.

Source: Bing Ads Intelligence Tool

Save time with importing campaigns from other search engines

Bing Ads made it really easy to import an entire account or specific campaigns directly from AdWords. Simply follow these steps.

Ad copy

Speaking directly to the occasion can make your ad more appealing. ‘Romantic’, ‘unique’, ‘personalized’ or ‘hand-crafted’ gifts will not only make the recipient happy, using these terms in your ad copy can add that  special touch shoppers are looking for.

Also, include gender related terms like “gift for him/ her/ women/ men/ girls/ boys”. According to Experian, gender related searches for Valentine’s gifts are more skewed towards men than women. 29% of all the generic searches 4 weeks ending 11 Feb 2012 included the term “him”.

Key Valentine Verticals

If your business falls into any of the categories below, consider optimizing your account for the expected traffic peak ahead. The Valentine’s seasonal peak spans between January and February 14th. Contact us, we are always happy to help you in optimizing your accounts.

1 Source: Experian

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UK Insights for the 2012 Holiday Season: Prepare Your Campaigns for a Record-Breaking Season

2012 Christmas Shopping Forecast

Our holiday insights series, begun last month, provides you with time-tested optimisation guidelines and timelines for a successful season. While September was all about preparation, October is the time for action. 96% of e-shoppers are expected to return online this Christmas according to IMRG.

With the major shopping peak just few weeks away, October is a perfect time to check your campaigns for any issues that may prevent your ads from showing. Resolve any problems early so you won’t miss shoppers searching for your product or service.

Key focus in October: Editorial & Budget Checks

The two most important things to look for are budget and ad copy editorial issues to make sure your ads are reaching the customers. Addressing our disapproved ads has just become a lot easier as Bing Ads offers the “Request Exception” feature for both existing and new ads.

  • For new ads: If your ad has been rejected, simply click the ‘Request an Exception’ checkbox on the Create an ad page and tell us why your ad copy doesn’t violate editorial guidelines. You’ll also be able to view tips that may help you resolve the rejection immediately.
  • For existing ads:
    1. Select the Ads or Keywords tab on the Campaigns page and click the Delivery column to filter by Disapproved.
    2. Check the box next to disapproved ads or keywords and click the Request Exception button. For keywords, click Make Bulk Changes and then Request Exception.
    3. Use the area provided to tell us why your ad copy doesn’t violate editorial guidelines.

Shoppers are expected to spend more during the 2012 holiday season, so make sure campaigns don’t go on budget pause due to insufficient funding. Use last year’s campaign performance to estimate the expected volume increase and boost your 2012 budget accordingly, adding a buffer of 20%. To avoid budget depletion, simply check the alerts provided in Bing Ads on the Home tab.

Add Seasonal Sparkle to your keywords and ads

With your accounts in good shape, spend some time updating your keyword list. Check to be sure you’ve listed all of your products or services. Make sure you include generic holiday terms as well as some of the most popular search terms by vertical. Don’t miss out keywords on lines of ‘sale’, ‘gifts’, ‘gift’ ‘vouchers’, ‘price comparison’, ‘Christmas present’ and so on.

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If you haven’t done so yet, October also is a great time to test your ad copy. With Bing Ads now allowing true A/B testing, you can easily compare performance of your seasonal ads. Under “Advanced Settings” go to “Ad Rotation” and choose the option for more even rotation.

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Holiday shoppers start planning buy their Christmas gifts in October. These early-bird shoppers are a great audience for advance testing to tell you which of your ads are the most appealing. Test ad copy performance early so you’re ready for the peak shopping days around Cyber Monday and others.

73% of mobile shoppers consider Christmas shopping from their mobile phone

41% of smartphone owners, 71% of tablet owners & 73% of mobile shoppers will consider making their Christmas purchases from their mobile, a number which has risen by almost 20% in just 12 months according to IMRG

IBM predicts that smartphone users will spend a total of £15.2 bn on mobile device-driven purchases, or about 6% of all in-store retail sales in 2012. By 2016, between 15% and 18% of in-store revenues are estimated to be mobile-prompted, amounting to between £35 and £43 billion.

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Small Business have been slow to adopt mobile advertising, but this may be where you can clearly distinguish yourself from the competitors. There’s no doubt that mobile devices, both phones and tablets, will play a major role during this year’s holiday season.

We strongly recommend that you separate your mobile campaigns from search because success metrics hesitant are very different. Mobile screens typically display fewer ads than those on a PC search results page, making bidding for top positions a necessity.

To create a separate mobile campaign, you can simply duplicate any of your search campaigns, then under “Advanced Settings” target smartphones and tablets only (some savvy advertisers even separate those two).

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Look for more tips to optimize for the peak season in early November. Meanwhile, please do not hesitate to contact our search experts at for help with your holiday campaign.

Importing from Google

And If you already optimized your Google campaigns and don’t want to duplicate that work, you can easily import your campaigns from another search engine directly into Bing Ads

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Just use “Import from Google Adwords” in the main menu and follow the instructions.

Sources:

IMRG, IBM, Econsultancy

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