To help you fuller understand the new terminology in your Dashboard report and the changes that Google has made to drop the Average Position metric, here are the definitions of these two new important terms that appear in your reports.
Explanation of Search Top IS (Impression Share)
Search top impression share (IS) is the impressions you’ve received in the top location on the search result page divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location. Use this metric to bid on the top page location.
The top location is anywhere ads appear above the organic search results. Eligibility is based on your current ads’ targeting settings, approval statuses, bids, and quality.
Explanation of Search Abs. (Absolute) Top IS (Impression Share)
“Search absolute top impression share” is the percentage of your Search ad impressions that are shown in the most prominent Search position.
Absolute top impression share = absolute top impressions / total eligible top impressions
What this means for you:
By using two new metrics, Google more clearly details where your ads fall in the competitive auction for first page placement. Google no longer shows when your ads appear underneath the organic search results in position 6-10 or on the second page of search results.
By reviewing these new metrics, you can identify if your bids, budget, and quality score which are used to determine ad rank are high enough to support ads appearing in the positions above the search results either in any position or the very top position.
My firm manages over $3 million in ad spend for clients in Google Ads yearly. As a result, we see opportunities for improvement in regards to conversion tracking across multiple accounts in diverse industries.
My Tips on Conversion Tracking
- Always track website contact forms.
- Try to track website phone calls.
- Do not change key conversion actions.
- Use Position-Based attribution.
- Set your cookie for 30 to 60 days.
- Add additional conversion actions for promotions.
One of the most important aspects to conversion tracking is to select key conversion actions and to NOT change them in the Google Ads conversion control panel or Google Analytics.
We have recently had several situations where well-meaning marketing staff deleted conversion actions thinking that there would be no harm in doing so, but as a result the smart bidding algorithms in Google Ads were negatively impacted and performance dropped quickly in the account.
I have found that when a customer is changing the conversion actions for promotions and they do not have key conversion actions that are always in the account, bidding algorithms are easily confused and cost per click and cost per conversions will increase, sometimes dramatically.
Assure that if you track website phone calls and email form completions that you always keep these running as conversion actions. Do not move in and out of conversion actions unless you use manual bidding.
Let Smart Bidding Algorithms Do the Heavy Lifting for You
Once you have your conversion action strategy in place, wait to accrue 15 conversions in a 30 day period and then test the use of smart bidding options like maximize conversion or Target CPA bidding for your account.
Make sure to do routine checks at 2 weeks, 30 days, and 60 days to assure that these algorithms are actually delivering results with a cost per conversion that works for your business. Most accounts will benefit from the use of smart bidding based on Google’s machine learning and AI, but not all.
As a professional Google Ads account manager, I see all kinds of accounts – healthy ones, sick ones, and those that simply need to be started all over. One thing that I have seen consistently is an issue with conversions and what clients decide to track has a big impact on performance. Especially when automated bidding driven by AI is turned on.
In the image above, you can see that this client has no conversion tracking working. This new client is using conversion maximizing automated bidding, but is not tracking any conversions as the codes are all broken.
Here’s what I like to track when it comes to conversions:
- Email form completions
- Phone calls from the website after 40 seconds
- Click to call from ads – sometimes
- Whitepaper downloads
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Free Demos or Trials
Here’s what I do not like to see as tracked:
- Visits to a page
- Time on a page
- Number of website pages in a visit
Set up for a disaster are:
- No conversion tracking at all
- Broken codes for conversion tracking
- Clicks on a button – in most cases
I have also found that changing from 1-conversion to many-conversion can be good, but moving from many-conversion to 1-conversion can be very problematic, for reporting history as well as communicating a strong success story in Google Ads.
From my point of view not tracking the “right” conversions in an account makes it very hard to utilize the Google Ads bidding algorithms to maximize performance and to drop the cost per conversion effectively.
If you do use any automated bidding tools with a conversion boosting focus and your conversion tracking codes are broken or not working, you set yourself up for incredibly high bids as Google has no historical data to base bidding upon.
If you are looking to optimize your Google Ads account join our clients and get quality review by our experienced team. We take a no-nonsense approach to getting you more business.
In early 2019 Google did away with the ability for a Google Ads account manager to not serve ads on AdSense for Mobile Apps. In May and June this year, across diverse business sectors we have seen a striking trend of strong ad serving to mobile apps in the Display and Remarketing space that is killing account performance.
Here’s what we see in a nutshell.
- Clicks to mobile apps are up strongly.
2. Cost per click is $.01 to $.08 to mobile apps.
3. Impressions are up very strongly.
4. Conversions are non-existent.
5. Ad serving budgets are mostly served in mobile apps.
6. The quality of the automatic app placement are game and kid-related.
See the Proof
To put this in perspective, we have attached a few screen shots that illustrate this huge change in ad serving that is killing the value of Display and Remarketing for client use.
Client One – Display 1/1/19 to 7/19/19 – shows a Display program note in May the strong increase in clicks (blue line) and strong drop in conversions (red line).
Client One – Remarketing 1/1/19 to 7/19/19 – shows a Remarketing program. Note in May the strong increase in clicks (blue line) and strong drop in conversions (red line).
A Trend Across Diverse Business Sectors
Both performance graphs above are for one client. But, that is just an illustration of this important trend. For further illustration are results from other clients. Multiple this by all clients we manage and we know that this is not an isolated incidence or one of a setting update.
Client Two – Remarketing 1/1/19 to 7/19/19 – shows a Remarketing program. Note as early as February the performance drop and strong clicks (blue line) in April, May, and June with no conversions (red line).
Client Three – Remarketing 1/1/19 to 7/19/19 – shows a Remarketing program. Note the click spike in April and May. The earlier drop is due to our moving out of the space due to quality due to no conversions and inability to stop the proliferation of poor quality Mobile App placements.
The key takeaway on all this, is that Google has clearly made a first quarter change in automatic placements, of which you have no control, in all bidding algorithms for Remarketing and Display programs.
How to You Fix This Problem to Return Display and Remarketing to Performance?
Right now, we am testing some options. One includes weekly rules that run on Sunday to pause Mobile App placements that have high clicks and no conversions. We are not sure that this will work to stem the drop in activity as Google may simply replace the pause placements with other poor placements. Google may not even pause the placement as it is an automatic placement not a account selected placement.
For other clients, we have either dropped budget significantly in Display and Remarketing, moved totally out of mobile using a -100% device bid, culled out high dollar mobile sites as exclusions, or even stopped programs entirely.
We are hopeful over time that Google will see the drop in client investment in these spaces as a red flag and adjust their ad serving algorithm to allow account managers greater control over where their ads appear in the Display network.
Continued from Monday…
The next step is to dig into your Google Ads report center and start to run reports on location, calls, clicks, and conversion actions. Make sure to review Google Analytics to check your paid traffic versus organic traffic.
One of the most important metrics that I use is conversion rate and cost per conversion for analysis of success of a program. If your service nets many thousands of dollars, it is important to assign the “right” conversion value to each prospect you receive.
Here’s where knowing how many leads you need to get a closed sale and how much the typical client will spend with you and how long they will stay is key for your final evaluation.
For example if it take you 100 leads to close one sale and the sale is a $60,000 sale, you can afford to spend thousands in Google Ads monthly to generate the leads you need to get to your known closure and sales rate.
Another example may be where you project fabric sales to be over $1 million this year, an investment of $2,000 a month for clicks where you are generating 500 sales a month is a great start to meeting your goal.
As you can see, deciding if Google Ads is valuable to your business, really requires you to know some important things about your own business first. How long does it typically take to close a sale once you start working with a client, what is the typical sale, is there a chance for repeat business, what is the size of the sale, what is the cost to you to deliver the service or product, are there multiple purchases with each sale are just a few important questions to ask yourself.
Google Ads offer a myriad number of reports and ways that you can slice and dice your data to evaluate success from your program. It all starts with a knowledge of your own customer, your expenses, and the long term value of each client to your business.
There is no better platform on the Internet than Google to drive qualified leads to your business. Make sure you are getting the most from Google by using an experienced and credentialed Google Ads account manager to assist you in meeting your sales goals.