This case has dragged on for a *long* time, and M&S will probably still appeal the decision but…
It seems that a UK court has ruled that you are not allowed to bid on competitor keywords if there is a decent chance that consumers may be mislead into thinking that you actually are your competitor or are in some way providing the service of your competitor (I think).
It is a little bit early to stop bidding on all competitor keywords in AdWords and Bing Ads, it is food for thought.
Here are a few links for reference:-read more
In a surprising move (surprising in that it took them so long), Microsoft have copied Google yet again, and made Bing Ads more like AdWords.
(These have actually have been for around 20 days now… Sorry for being so slow to point this out.).
At any rate, it looks like the majority of advertisers are not taking advantage of this yet, so make sure you get sitelinks added to all your Bing Ads campaigns to make them stand out from the competition before everyone starts doing it!
For anyone who wonders what I am talking about, here is an example of what sitelinks look like on Bing UK (The links for ‘Astro Trainers’, ‘Football Boots’, ‘Running Shoes’, ‘Infant Trainers’) :-
My name is Kevin McCaffrey from Conversion Rate Services. What we do is help businesses increase the profits they get from their Marketing Campaigns and Websites. We do this using a technique called conversion rate optimisation.
Every single business in the World could increase sales and leads on their Websites by at least 10% but by as much as 100% or even more by following the process I’m about to show you.
This process is the reason that companies like Amazon, Google and Ebay dominate their markets.
You can achieve fantastic results for your own PPC campaigns by putting in place a conversion rate optimisation process.
You need to implement a conversion optimisation process because it has been proven by businesses worldwide to increase sales and leads and it is cost effective, easy and reliable to implement.
What is Conversion
Look at the image below. A conversion is turning one of these guys on the left into one on the right for any given goal. There’s 100 people in the image here and we’re saying that if 2 of them completed a goal then that’s a 2% conversion rate you. 2% is a fairly typical conversion rate for selling something online.
A goal can be an
- Order going into your ecommerce system
- a subscription to a newsletter
- a lead going into your CRM system or
- simply a click on a button
And the objective of Conversion Optimisation is to get one more of the guys on the left over to the right. Because if you have 3 over there instead of 2 and you can keep that on a consistent basis then you’ve just increased your business by 50%.
So how does this sit with all the other marketing activities we’re doing.
Well there’s a very simple equation in online business. And here it is.
Traffic is the sexy part these days. And most business know and understand the value of traffic and have an understanding of the ways they can drive traffic to their site through SEO, PPC and Social Media. when a site goes up the first thing the business owner wants to know is: are prople visiting the Website.
But a Website is useless without conversion.
And here’s the thing about traffic. Once you get your conversion sorted out, traffic is easy. You just write a big check to Google Adwords or hire the best SEO & PPC guys in the world (like Jordan here at PPCNI) and you’ll get all the Visitors you want. Because you’ll know that when these people get to your site. They’re going to convert.
So how do we do it?
Well the key is to use a technique called Split Testing.
This is where you create a second version of an existing page on your Website. You run a test using some easy to set up software. The software sends 50% of the traffic to original page and 50% to the new page. At the end, the one with the most conversions wins.
The example below is from a company that provides event management software. You have an original version and a new version. The conversion we’re tracking and trying to optimise is Sign Ups. So can you guess which page got 90% more people to sign up?
It was the version on the right that converted 90% more signups than the original. That’s almost double. As you can see it’s not very easy to tell if a change is going to be better or worse, so you should always split test when making big changes to your Website. Because the changes you make could do more harm than good.
But conversion rate optimisation isn’t just about A/B and multivariate testing; it’s about building a process for consistently improving conversion over time.
Conversion Rate Optimisation Process
This is the process you want to strive for
So what Split Testing gives you is Step 4 and 5 Test & Release. But that’s the easy bit. It’s doesn’t take long to set up the test and once the test is concluded you can Release it so that 100% of your traffic is going to the winner so you get the full benefit of the lift in conversion rate.
Taking a step back is step 3, the implementation. That’s where the graphic designers, content developers and software developers get to work implementing the changes you’ve decided to make (though you don’t always have to involve these guys to make big changes).
But it’s the first 2 steps of the process that are most important and the place where you should spend 80% of your time and that’s Analysis & Design.
So what are we looking to Analyse and why? Well we’re looking to analyse our Website and our customers to find good opportunities for testing.
The analysis takes the form of
- Looking at how easy the Website is to use (Usability)
- Measuring the right things in Google Analytics
- Understanding the questions the customer has in their mind when buying
- Analysing the benefits of the product or service
- Getting customer feedback
- Understanding what people are actually doing on your Website
- Studying your competitors to understand how you can beat them
- Overcoming the customers objections
- and lots of other things
Once this analysis is complete, you’ll have lots of ideas of things to change on your Website. These will form the basis of split tests. And so begins the process of increasing your conversion rate and increasing your profits.
To find out more about how to implement a conversion rate optimisation process, download my Conversion Rate Optimisation White Paper titled “How Your Online Business Can Make 20% More Money in The Next 10 Weeks”. It outlines in more detail how you can analyse your Website and has lots of recommendations on how to persuade your customers to buy.
In a previous post, I mentioned that this may not happen until the second quarter of 2012, but apparently it is now going to happen in the ‘First Semester’! :-
With the advent of a new year, we wanted to let you know the latest news about the Microsoft and Yahoo! Search Alliance and what you can expect in 2012. Our goal is to have Microsoft Advertising adCenter provide the paid search results for Yahoo! sites in the UK, France and Ireland in the first semester of 2012. As we work towards this goal we will keep you informed about actions you can take with your adCenter account and budget to help prepare for the transition.
The only problem is – what on earth is a semester when you are not talking about college / university?
If anyone has the answer to this question – please let me know!
Here is another update from them (2nd Feb 2012):-
We wanted to give you an update on the timeline for the Microsoft and Yahoo! Search Alliance transition in the UK, France and Ireland. We are working with our partners at Yahoo! toward completing the paid search transition by the end of April. By then, you will be able to advertise on the full Yahoo! Search traffic through your adCenter campaigns.
However, we are keen to bring you the benefits of our combined audiences sooner and may accelerate the transition in these markets if we can do so while still maintaining a quality experience. As always, we will keep you informed of our progress.
As part of the Microsoft and Yahoo! Search Alliance, Yahoo! Search Marketing advertisers will need to start transitioning their accounts to Microsoft Advertising adCenter later in February. While there is no action required today, if you also advertise on Yahoo! Search, you will be receiving more details about the transition process and access to an easy to use transition tool as we get closer to the transition.
Learn more about account transitions
- If you have a Yahoo! Search Marketing account get familiar with the Transition Checklist, and prepare to transition your accounts with ease.
- Register to attend a free webinar on 22 February to learn more about the account transition process and get tips to prepare for a successful transition.
Please continue to manage your adCenter account as usual and reach out to our support team if you need any assistance.
The Microsoft Advertising Team
Previously to this announcement from Google:-
It was a common misconception that your landing page affected Quality Score.
It didn’t. What it did do was affect your minimum first page bid estimates. This discouraged people from having rubbish landing pages, but if you could create fantastic ads, bid high to start with and get a great CTR, then this was a minor inconvenience.
Not any more apparently…
When searching on Google, users appreciate results that are relevant and deliver a great experience after they click. In August, we announced trials in Brazil, Spanish-speaking Latin America, Spain, and Portugal1 that increased the weight given to relevance and landing page quality in determining Quality Score and how ads are ranked on Google. The goal was to improve the user experience with search ads. Based on the results we’ve been seeing, we’re now rolling these changes out globally over the coming weeks.
This is one more nail in the coffin for affiliate marketers who want to use AdWords to sell other peoples products and services (Google clearly wants to be the only affiliate allowed to use Google).
They also explicitly state landing pages should :-
Feature original content that can’t be found on another site. This guideline is particularly applicable to resellers whose site is identical or highly similar to another reseller’s or the parent company’s site, and to affiliates that use the following types of pages:
Bridge pages: Pages that act as an intermediary, whose sole purpose is to link or redirect traffic to the parent company
Mirror pages: Pages that replicate the look and feel of a parent site; your site should not mirror (be similar or nearly identical in appearance to) your parent company’s or any other advertiser’s site
Provide substantial information. If your ad links to a page consisting mostly of ads or general search results (such as a directory or catalog page), it must also provide additional, unique content.
So they are clamping down on people who have more than one (similar) web site, and more than one AdWords ad on the SERPs at any given time. Again – Google want to be the only firm allowed to ‘double dip’ in AdWords.
They also now state that user reviews are important i.e. you must :-
Honor the deals and offers that you promote in your ad.
Deliver products and services as promised.
Only charge users for the products and services that they order and successfully receive.
So, for anyone who has one web site, that sells their own stuff, and has good reviews from customers – will this have any major effect? I don’t think so.
Everyone else – I would start getting worried!
For anyone wanting basic information on Quality Score this is quite a good little video:-read more