Oliver Pyper takes the reigns for our festive paid search news roundup. This time there are new features for AdWords and Facebook video advertising, plus some interesting lessons learnt from PPC in 2014…

New Store Visits AdWords Metric Aims to Bridge Online/Offline Gap

Estimated Total Conversions launched in October 2013. This AdWords reporting feature began by offering us a view of cross-device conversion paths – a big deal. However, it promised much more.

From last year’s launch announcement:

Over time, we’ll be adding other conversion types like phone calls and store visits as well as conversions from ads on our search and display network.”

Now another piece of the conversion tracking puzzle has fallen into place, with the launch of the Store Visits metric.

Announced on Thursday 18 December, Store Visits gives an estimate of users who click an ad then go on to visit a bricks-and-mortar store.

Winchester High Street.

Source: aimee rivers at Flickr.

Exciting stuff. But it’s not without its caveats.

For instance, because of data privacy laws, Google can’t actively track visits on a user-by-user basis. Instead, it uses an aggregated set of user data – extrapolated to the wider population – to provide an estimate.

Google has also said its estimates for cross-device conversions, which work on a similar principle, are “very conservative”. So we guess Store Visits estimates will be very conservative too.

Finally, the metric is only available at campaign level, so unless you’ve created individual campaigns for each physical location, there’s no way of going more granular with the data.

Still, it’s an important step forward for the hitherto hazy world of online-to-offline conversion tracking.

[By the way, I wrote about this a while back. You might want to check it out: 4 Ways to Track Online to In-Store Ad Conversions.]

Virool Promises to Help Marketers Promote Facebook Videos Outside of Facebook

Facebook is really coming into its own as a video marketing platform. In fact, in several ways, it’s outstripping the king of video, YouTube.

Weapons of mass distraction.

Source: birgerking at Flickr, via Hunter Langston.

For example, just last week it was reported that brands were uploading more native Facebook videos to the social network than embedded YouTube videos.

And the number of small-to-medium businesses posting Facebook videos has doubled over the last year.

And more video shares happen on Facebook than any other social network.

So it’s well worth looking into for promotion of video content. But only if you’re willing to contend with the ‘Facebook problem’.

The problem is this: Facebook users are willing to engage with your content with LOLs, ROFLs and OMGs, but they’re difficult to coax down the conversion funnel. In a platform overrun with content, it’s difficult to position your content as anything but a distraction.

Enter a brand new service from video advertising platform Virool, which promises to promote Facebook videos on third-party sites. According to Marketing Land, Virool is working with more than 100,000 publishers willing to seed Facebook videos.

The service also promises real-time analytics for campaigns, as well as heatmap reports and emotional tracking.

Here’s Virool’s CEO, Alex Debelov, commenting on the launch:

We are already seeing a number of companies switching to Facebook as their primary video player … by broadening our service to the Facebook platform, Virool is moving towards a platform agnostic capability that can help any video, hosted on any platform, reach an audience that deserves to see it.”

“We are excited to bring video distribution to a new social network and help video marketers maximize their Facebook video strategies.”

Potentially powerful stuff.

2014 State of Paid Search Report Shows Social Advertising Considered More Important

PPC Hero’s 2014 State of Paid Search survey is out, and it contains some important insights into which ad types PPC advertisers consider most important.

Graph showing perceived importance of ad types.

Source: PPC Hero

Social advertising has continued to grow this year, but it still trails behind traditional PPC in terms of perceived importance. 38% of survey respondents agreed that social ads are ‘important’ or ‘very important’, compared to 55% for display ads and a whopping 97% for text ads.

However, this is hardly surprising. Social advertising is a comparatively new field, and text ads are very much the foundations on which PPC as a discipline is built. And as platforms like AdWords continue to add new features and extensions to text ads, this is unlikely to change soon – they’re very much moving with the times.

It’s more interesting to flip the stats around and consider how many advertisers said that social ads had ‘little-to-no importance’.

Graph showing percentage of advertisers who consider social advertising to have little-to-no importance, 2014 vs 2013.

Source: PPC Hero.

If we look at the stats this way, we see that only 29% of respondents see little or no value in social advertising. In its 2013 survey, PPC Hero saw a huge 68% of respondents sharing this opinion.

So although social ads are hardly going to knock traditional search advertising off its pedestal anytime soon, they are no longer a fringe discipline. And this has all happened in the last 12 months!

AdWords: The Year in Review

Over at Inside AdWords, Google has published its yearly review, highlighting some of the most successful paid search advertising campaigns over the last year.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of its shout-outs:

  • L’Oreal drove 50% more customers to their Feria Ombré product after using Search Insights to respond to trends and adjust messaging.

  • Hyatt reached 17M business travellers and reduced costs per engagement by 26% after investing in video advertising campaigns.
  • Extra Space Storage increased its click-through rate by 113% after using ad customizers to deliver on-point, real-time messaging to consumers.
  • Point It boosted its return on ad spend by 47% after implementing automated bidding. The firm also reduced cost per acquisition by four per cent and increased revenue by eight per cent.
  • 1-800 Flowers used cross-device conversions to gain better insights into their customers’ behaviours. By bolstering their reporting in this way, they discovered a seven per cent increase in overall conversions.

This will be our last PPC roundup of the year. So have a great Christmas, we’ll see you all in 2015!

More PPC News and Views

Read last week’s PPC news roundup: AdWords News, Christmas PPC Tips and More

Over at BidCops: 4 Things You Need to Know About the Boxing Day Sales

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About the author:

Oliver Pyper is senior online copywriter at ClickThrough Marketing. He writes on-page content, blogs, press releases and loads of other bits and pieces too numerous and brilliant to mention. He’s also responsible for Kate Bush: The Musical and a series of videos depicting a young man’s search for energy drinks in New York City. Drop him a line if you want to talk content solutions or Kate Bush.