EsheleD Marketing & Technology

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6Mar/150

Introducing Google Compare for U.S. car insurance

Whether it’s buying the right car insurance or finding the best credit card, people want an easy way to understand and compare financial products online. In fact, when it comes to buying car insurance, 80% of drivers think they’d find a better policy if they could compare more than two providers.* That’s why today we’re introducing Google Compare for car insurance in California, with more states to follow. This represents the newest addition to a suite of Google Compare products designed to help people make confident, more informed financial decisions.

Google Compare for car insurance provides a seamless, intuitive experience for connecting with your customers online. Whether you’re a national insurance provider or one local to California, people searching for car insurance on their phone or computer can find you along with an apples-to-apples comparison of other providers -- all in as little as 5 minutes. You can highlight what makes your business unique, whether that’s an “A” rating in customer service or better discounts for safe drivers. And when users adjust their deductible or add additional cars to their quote, you can show updated pricing that matches their needs. They can then buy their policy online or over the phone through one of your agents.

Here’s what some of our partners are saying:

“We’re always looking for opportunities to use new technology to enhance the customer experience. Partnering with Google Compare allows us to bring our unique group pricing and benefits to a wider range of customers, while creating an easier shopping experience.” - Kishore Ponnavolu, Executive Vice President at MetLife Auto & Home ®

“The lifeblood of Mercury’s business has and always will be our partnership with independent agents. We also know many shoppers want to buy anytime, anywhere, and Google Compare gives them a fast, easy way to do so. Partnering with Google Compare provides us with a tremendous opportunity to connect with a segment of the market that would have been out of reach.” - Erik Thompson, Advertising Director at Mercury

As Google Compare for car insurance rolls out to more states, we’ll also be introducing ratings and reviews, as well as local agent support for providers with agent networks. Participation in Google Compare is based on a flexible cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model, but payment isn’t a factor in ranking or eligibility.

You can learn more about joining Google Compare here.

Posted by Jerry Dischler, Vice President of Product Management, AdWords


*Google internal study

5Mar/150

AdWords app launches on Android

Staying on top of your campaigns just got easier

Today, we’re introducing the AdWords app, an easy way to view and manage your ads’ performance when you’re on the go.  This new Android app is available globally for existing AdWords customers.

Businesses, large and small, are increasingly using smartphones to manage everything from customer support to product orders to marketing. Now, you can use your smartphone to keep your AdWords campaigns running smoothly—no matter where your business takes you.

As a companion to your desktop account, this app lets you:

  • View campaign stats
  • Update bids and budgets
  • Get real-time alerts and notifications
  • Act on suggestions to improve your campaigns
  • Call a Google expert

Download the AdWords app for Android

Tommy Sands, Senior Paid Search Manager from Philly Marketing Labs, tells us, “Having the ability to quickly review and take action in my AdWords accounts when I only have my mobile device enables me to be better and more efficient at managing my campaigns. It's nice to know that I'm only a few taps away from the information I need, no matter where I am.”

Review (and make changes) on the go

Whenever you open the app, you’ll see an overview of your clicks, costs, and conversions. For deeper insights, you can view metrics by ad group, day of week and device.

Changes in campaign performance can happen at any time—now you can address them quickly, even when you’re away from your desk. For example, if you see your best performing campaign is maxing out on budget, you can make adjustments so you don’t lose out on potential sales. You can even pause or enable a campaign for a time-sensitive promotion.

You’ll also receive customized suggestions that you can act on immediately. For example, if there’s an opportunity to get more impressions by adjusting your bids, we’ll let you know so you can make the change right from the app.

Get the app

The AdWords app is now available for devices that use Android 4.0 or later. To get started, download it today from the Google Play Store. And for more information, visit our Help Center. We look forward to hearing your feedback as you bring AdWords with you on your business adventures.

Posted by Geoff Menegay, Product Manager, AdWords

5Mar/150

Best Practices: Re-engage Past Site Visitors with Programmatic Remarketing on Google Display

Turn window shoppers into buyers. From the moment a person’s left your website or abandoned your shopping cart, programmatic remarketing works to re-engage those potential customers with tailored messages at the right moments and in the right context. Simply put, past visitors can be your most qualified prospects, making remarketing an essential tactic in your marketing efforts.

We’ve put together a new best practices guide, “Remarketing Right on Cue,” to help you win those crucial moments when shoppers are most likely to purchase. Dive into the world of programmatic remarketing on Google Display and learn how to get the most out of your remarketing efforts, including:

  • How to properly set up site-wide tags
  • Which types of remarketing lists and ad formats are most effective
  • How automated bidding tools can yield productivity gains in remarketing
  • How to acquire new customers that exhibit similar behaviors to your current ones

Download the full version and the one-page checklist to view our complete coverage of programmatic remarketing on Google Display.

Check out these and other Google Best Practices over at g.co/GoogleBP.

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing

4Mar/150

Best Practices for Driving Calls with AdWords

Online advertising can be about more than just your website, especially with on-the-go consumers. For many advertisers, calls are the most important channel to use when connecting with customers.
If you’re looking to take full advantage of our recently introduced call-only campaigns or to drive calls alongside clicks, there are certain things that you should be thinking about.

Our new Best Practices guide, Good Call: A Guide to Driving Calls with AdWords, covers key areas that any call-hungry business should consider.

  • How to decide if you want to drive clicks & calls or calls only
  • What are the best ways to measure all of the calls you drive
  • How you can update your bidding and messaging to increase the number of calls you receive
  • What changes you can make to increase your website’s value to callers

Stop staring longingly at your phone, wishing it would ring.  Download our full guide or the one-page checklist now.  Your phone will thank you.

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing

21Feb/150

Charge up your phones with call-only campaigns

People are living their lives online and engaging with your business in new ways.  With smartphones in hand, consumers are increasingly looking for products or services while on the go and then placing a call right away. In fact, 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results.*

Today we’re introducing call-only campaigns, a new and easy way for businesses to reach potential customers by prominently showing your phone number, business description and call button -- right when people are searching.

Uniquely built for businesses that value phone calls more than website clicks

Call-only campaigns are specially designed to only show on mobile devices that can make phone calls. This means every click you pay for can be a phone call to your business.

Bid just for phone calls

Since every click goes towards a phone call, you can design a bidding strategy based specifically on your CPA or ROAS goal for calls. This helps you maximize the value of every call to your business.

“Our customers are increasingly calling us on their mobile devices to get an insurance quote. The great part about call-only ads is that they give us the ability to bid based on the value of a call so we can meet the specific ROI goals that we have set up for sales that come through the phone."

Jason Johnson
Marketing Director, Clearlink Insurance

Customize ads focused on a single call to action - phone calls

Tailor your ads for phone calls with creatives like “speak to a specialist today" or “call to make an appointment" to let people know they can easily reach your business without needing to visit your site.

For BizLab, a national telecommunications retailer, most conversions happen offline over the phone.  "The new call-only ads have improved lead volume and conversion rates by targeting mobile devices with ads, like “call now” that are simply focused on driving calls.”

Catherine Wilson
Senior PPC Analyst, BizLab

Another major internet provider uses call-only campaigns to connect customers quickly and easily with their sales team. “With a phone call as the only call to action, call-only ads ads improve the mobile shopping experience by eliminating the intermediary step of visiting our website. They provide an easy way for consumers to get the product they want by calling into our sales center direct. Better customer experience coupled with an increase in calls & sales provides a win-win for both consumers and advertisers.”

Josh Leibner
Director of Paid Search at Red Ventures, marketing consulting company for large businesses

Learn more

If you’re currently using the call extensions setting to create call-only ads, you can find details on how to upgrade to call-only campaigns in the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Amit Agarwal, Product Manager, AdWords


*Google/Ipsos, The Role of Click to Call in the Path to Purchase, September, 2013.

19Feb/150

Staying on top of AdWords numerous new features – and learning how to best use them

Did you know that over 200 products and feature updates launched in AdWords last year? With so many updates, many advertisers have shared that it can be hard to keep track of all the changes. On top of that, advertisers are looking for guidance about how to use AdWords so that they can better manage their accounts. We're listening.

Starting today, you will find two new resources in the Learn tab of the Help Center that we hope will keep you on top of all the new AdWords innovations and help you understand how they work. The first is a chronological list of product updates. This “New AdWords Features” page shows you what’s happening in AdWords all in a single place: from reporting improvements to new ad format launches. For example, if you visit the page today you’ll see that eligible Flash ads can now be automatically converted to HTML5 on the Google Display Network. You'll also see that we recently rolled out a service release for AdWords Editor, which included some improvements to reporting.

Each listing offers a short description of the change with links to pages with more details. In many cases, these links will take you to a page with product how-to videos or customer stories.

The second resource that we’ve added to the Learn tab in the Help Center is all about making our advertisers better at AdWords: the Google Best Practices series.

This series offers actionable advice and straightforward tips to help you get the most out of AdWords. The guidance we offer spans many topics, from writing effective search ads to successfully implementing bid automation. This series, Google's official advice on AdWords, can help form the foundation of your paid search strategies.

We hope these new resources make it easier to stay up to date with AdWords as a “one-stop shop” for discovering new innovations and helpful best practices. Bookmark them now!

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing

11Feb/150

Best Practices: Combine AdWords with Google Analytics for Better Insights, Bidding and Results

Like sunshine and the beach, or dogs and tennis balls, Google AdWords and Google Analytics are great by themselves but even better together. You'll get high-performance insights into your ads and your website when you link your AdWords and Analytics accounts. Google Analytics does a vital job in this pairing: it shows you what happened after users clicked on your AdWords ads.

We’ve put together a new Best Practices guide, Better Together: AdWords and Google Analytics, to help you get deep insight into your performance. When you analyze performance with the combination of GA and AdWords you can find all sorts of actionable info:

  • Which parts of your account drive actual on-site engagement
  • Which keywords attract new users to your site
  • What messaging and landing pages connect with the different users on your site
  • How your business compares across your entire industry

To whet your appetite, here’s a rundown of ten useful GA reports included in the guide (with links that lead you directly to these reports in your own GA account).  Like what you see here?  Download the full version and the condensed one-page checklist to view our complete coverage of GA + AW goodness.

Love Analytics and AdWords being paired together?  Please take our survey about your past success and what else we can do to improve the experience.

Posted by Matt Lawson, Director, Performance Ads Marketing

10Feb/150

Get faster and easier URL tracking with new Upgraded URLs

URL management just got easier 

Constant connectivity has increased the ways that people engage with your business, meaning more data and metrics for you to use to manage ad performance.  That’s why we are introducing Upgraded URLs to provide an easier and faster way to manage and track important information about each click on your AdWords ads*.

Upgraded URLs offer several benefits for advertisers, including:

  • less time spent managing URL tracking updates
  • reduced crawl and load times on your website
  • new ValueTrack parameters that help you gain additional insights about your ads. Learn more.

Johannes Lipka, Product & Solution Manager at eProfessional GmbH, says: “Upgraded URLs have been one of the most time-saving tools we’ve used in AdWords. It’s allowed us to change custom tracking parameters for a group of URLs all in one place, without re-setting ad stats. We plan to upgrade our clients’ accounts over to upgraded URLs as soon as possible.”

Destination URLs today

If you use URL tracking today, you’ll notice that Destination URLs are made up of two components:

  1. Landing page URL This is the URL that customers see in their browsers when they get to your landing page after clicking on your ad.
  2. Tracking This section includes information like redirects to third party tracking services, ValueTrack parameters, or custom creative IDs.

In the example below, blue represents the landing page, and green represents the tracking information.

www.example.com?creative=12345

With destination URLs, anytime you need to adjust tracking, you have to update the entire destination URL. This triggers a re-review of your entire destination URL and your ads stop running while your URL is re-reviewed -- causing you to lose time and potential new business.

What’s changing with Upgraded URLs

Upgraded URLs let you enter the landing page portion of your URL and your tracking information separately in AdWords. Now you have the option to update your tracking information at your account, campaign or ad group without having to re-set your ad stats.

Let’s see how the example URL above could be constructed using the new upgraded URL fields.

Final URL is where you’ll enter your website’s landing page URL.

The landing page 'www.example.com' is now entered in the Final URL Field

Tracking templates are where you enter your tracking information and tell AdWords how to assemble your URLs. Now, if you’d like to scale your tracking updates across multiple URLs, you can use a shared tracking template at the account, campaign or ad group level. If you’d prefer to manage your URL tracking information at the individual URL level, you can use a tracking template at the ad, keyword, or sitelink level.

In the example below, we’ve used a tracking template at the account level to apply our tracking information across all of the URLs in the account.

Tracking information for all URLs in the account is placed in the account level tracking template

Custom parameters let you customize the information you’d like to monitor as well as the specific values that get inserted into your URLs when your ad clicks are triggered. For example, if you’d like to insert the value 12345 whenever this specific ad is clicked, you can set the custom parameter {_mycreative} in this ad.

Enter '_mycreative' in the custom parameter field to insert 12345 whenever that ad is clicked

New URLs, new insights

As part of this upgrade, you’ll gain access to many new insights about your ad clicks.

New ValueTrack parameters let you track additional insights about your business. For example, if you’d like to track how many ad clicks were triggered for your creative by location, you can use the new {loc_physical_ms} ValueTrack parameter. To optimally use the new ValueTrack parameters, you can set them up at the account level so you can track these values across all the URLs in your account. Learn about the new value track parameters.

The valuetrack for location {location_physical_ms} is in green in the account level tracking template

Next steps

We’ll be rolling out upgraded URLs to all advertisers starting this week. We encourage all advertisers who use tracking in their URLs to upgrade to the new system by July 1, 2015. Starting on that date, your URLs will begin updating to the new structure.

If you're using a tracking platform to manage your URLs, we encourage working with them to manage these changes.

To learn how you can start using Upgraded URLs for your new ad URLs, please see our article on Help Center.

Posted by Leo Sei, Product Manager, Google AdWords


*Everywhere we say ads, we also mean other targeting options available for the Search Network, Display Network, and Shopping.

5Feb/150

Dimensional weight support in Google Merchant Center lets you specify more accurate shipping rates

When shoppers search for the best deals online, they want to know the full cost of an item -- including the cost of shipping. In fact, we’ve seen that unexpected shipping costs are a common reason for users abandoning their online shopping purchases. That’s why we’ve been focused on making it even easier for you to showcase the right shipping cost to online shoppers, when they’re ready to buy.

Carrier-calculated rates in Google Merchant Center are an easy and convenient way to set up accurate shipping rates if you use one of the supported carriers. In the US, several major carriers recently announced that they’ve begun applying dimensional weight pricing when calculating the rates of their shipments. With this change, package pricing not only factors in the weight of the package, but also its dimensions.

To help you show accurate shipping rates for your items, we’re introducing support for dimensional weight shipping rates in Google Merchant Center. This update lets you define the dimensions of your packages used in shipping taking into account the length, width, and height of a package -- in addition to the weight you already provide.

We’ve created three new attributes that you can add to your product data to provide the dimensions of shipping packages for an item: ‘shipping length’, ‘shipping width’, and ‘shipping height’. Starting today, when you include these attributes, Google will calculate carrier-calculated shipping rates for supported carriers by taking into account dimensional weights. This ensures that calculated rates reflect dimensional shipping rates to provide users with the most accurate costs.

To learn more about dimensional shipping, visit our Help Center article, and select ‘United States’ at the top.

Posted by Sven Herschel, Product Manager for Google Merchant Center 

4Feb/150

Fighting Bad Advertising Practices on the Web — 2014 Year in Review

Online advertising helps fund content and businesses on the web, from small family-owned shops to large publishers. While online advertising helps the web to work for all of us, this ecosystem can also attract bad actors that aim to misuse ads for harmful or deceptive purposes.

We work hard to keep our advertising ecosystem clean for users, advertisers, and publishers, and continue to invest substantial resources to stop bad advertising practices. We have a team of analysts who work around the clock to protect users, and continue to hone our detection technology to identify bad ads and stop bad actors as it’s a vital part of keeping our ads ecosystem clean.

As an example, last summer our analysis technology flagged a set of accounts as suspicious. To the human eye, the ads looked like ordinary rental property ads that met our policies. After we dug in deeper, we discovered that the system was right to be suspicious - the vacation rentals turned out to be a scam and the rental properties didn't exist. Our systems learn from incidents like these, helping us more effectively catch and remove bad ads and advertisers.

For the past several years, we’ve shared insight into our efforts to fight bad actors on the web. Today, we’re sharing new data on how we fought bad advertising practices over the past year. Overall, we disabled more than 524 million bad ads and banned more than 214,000 advertisers in 2014. While this represents a tiny fraction of the total ads on our platform - the vast majority of advertisers follow our policies and act responsibly - we continue to remain vigilant to protect users against bad advertising practices.

Here’s a look into some of the trends we fought against last year:

  • Combating counterfeiters: Our relentless crackdown on counterfeit goods is producing powerful results. We banned 7,000 advertisers for promoting counterfeit goods, down from 14,000 in 2013 (and 82,000 in 2012), demonstrating that counterfeiters are increasingly unable to circumvent our advanced enforcement systems.
  • Protecting against malicious software: To protect the safety and security of our users, we stop all ads pointing to sites where we find malware - whether it’s spyware, adware or other types of malicious software. Last year we removed 250,000 sites from our network for hiding forms of malware. 
  • Weighing in against weight loss scams: While many advertisers selling dietary supplements provide accurate information, some bad actors use outrageous claims to entice consumers. In 2014 TrustInAds.org, a group which includes Google, AOL, Yahoo and others, released a report showing that we had collectively removed or rejected more than 2.5 million ads related to weight loss and dietary supplements over the past 18 months. 

Here’s a look at our work to get rid of bad advertising practices in 2014:

This is a constantly evolving fight. Bad actors continually create more sophisticated systems and scams, so we too are continually evolving our practices, technology, and methodology in fighting these bad ads. The security of our users is the foundation of our ecosystem, and we’ll continue to work tirelessly to keep people safe online. If you’d like to provide feedback on specific ads or our policies, check out our online form.

Posted by Vikaram Gupta, Director, Ads Engineering

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