Month: September 2014

These aren’t the droids you were looking for?

Keywords matching has changed on a lot since the days when “broad”, “phrase” and “exact” meant what most people thought  they did. They have been subject to quite a bit of redefinition. Perhaps it is time they got new names? Especially now that turning off the “near match” characteristics are no longer at our discretion (as of Sept 2014).

Near match, oh that must mean close right? Not necessarily.. there is “machine close” and “human close”. If you were advertising for Glass you probably wouldn’t expect to see your Ads show for Class. Conceptually a very different meaning, but only 1 letter away if it is a misspelling.. so your Ad will likely show for both if it’s Ad Rank is sufficient and you hadn’t anticipated it by blocking -class as a negative.

Close keyword variations

We’ll show your ads for close variations of your phrase and exact match keywords to maximise your potential to show your ads on relevant searches. Close variations include misspellings, singular and plural forms, acronyms, stemmings (such as floor and flooring), abbreviations and accents.

OK. What about words that are just synonyms? Well it isn’t specifically mentioned, but we have observed these in the past. Particularly across branded goods, e.g car brands. A search for a particular make/model may show the make/model of another brand because they are same type of product. ie both 4WD vehicles. Incidentally I have seen “Ford Sale” expand to the generic “For Sale”(expansion on misspelling)  and if that is a phrase match your “Ford Sale” ad may be showing for furniture for sale !

Word Stemming is an issue when the stemming leads to a different meaning. e.g Service and Servicing. While many businesses may offer a “service”, it does not including “servicing”

Plural can introduce issues in a similar way. A search for “custom service” is likely different intent from a search for “customs service”

Abbreviations/Acronyms + Mispellings = EVIL . This can be nasty, if you have a common Three Letter Acronym in your industry, it is likely matching for every other variation of those letters and anything that is only 1 letter off.  ABC, CBA, CAB. POST, POTS,SPOT

Expect to spend a lot more time monitoring search term matching reports and adding negatives. For new accounts this may mean 7+ days before there is enough data before the report will show these unexpected matches. Experience plays a big part in knowing what might be an issue, but we can never fully know how aggressive some matching will be until it happens.

The chart below serves as an introduction to the different match types, ordered from broad to narrow.

Match Type Special symbol Example keyword Ads may show on searches that Example searches:
Broad match none women’s hats include misspellings, synonyms, related searches and other relevant variations buy ladies hats
Broad match modifier +keyword +women’s +hats contain the modified term (or close variations, but not synonyms), in any order hats for women
Phrase match keyword women’s hats are a phrase, and close variations of that phrase buy women’s hats
Exact Match [keyword] [women’s hats] are an exact term and close variations of that exact term women’s hats
Negative Match keyword women are searches without the term baseball hats

Happy negative hunting..

Attribution – Who gets the credit for the sale?

If someone comes to your site and converts, who gets the credit?
When our online Analysis tools were more primitive, that credit would be given to whatever got them there on the day. Often it was the last click or maybe direct if the they typed in the url.

But that assumes the customer journey to buying from you is a direct path. Marketing on the web is not an elevator pitch with a captive audience who must make a decision before they walk away. And yet many still view their web stats in this way. In this simplistic model a Visit gets viewed as failing if the conversion does not convert on that day, especially if it came from an paid click.

The path to conversion is not always direct. There are many ways that people interact with a website that lead ultimately (hopefully) into the “when” of the conversion.

  • They are researching
  • Ran out of time, will come back later.
  • Need to check out a few competitors or other brands to make the decision.
  • Started on a mobile, prefers the larger screen to read do the final purchase.
  • Have to discuss with Partner / Check Bank Balance / Wait for next Payday
  • Just not ready to buy today, but will next month.

But once they have come to your site, they are somewhere on the path to purchasing.
What was it worth for you to have this chance to show them what you do?
If their desires and your offerings align. You maybe one step closer to a sale than you were before.

How do you put a value on it even if it didn’t end in a sale today?
The attribution of value in each interaction leading up to a sale is complicated. Thankfully Google Analytics gives us tools to test and explore different attributions models. There maybe more value in your online marketing Campaigns than you have been giving it credit for.

I will leave it to Analytics Ninja Avinash Kaushik to explain this in more depth and how it can improve your bottom line. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Attribution Models.

Remove Known Bots from Analytics

Recently Google Analytics added “Bot Filtering” to “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders”
Find this checkbox on the View Admin page under “View Settings”.

This will screen out some chaff that has been skewing your stats Analytics.
Cleaning up your Sessions & User counts going forward to exclude various robots & spiders.

You may (may not) be surprised to see that 10% or more of your traffic screened.
Don’t panic over a drop in sessions or users after putting on this filter.
(Remember they weren’t real prospects for your business)

What is important, is that behaviour statistics like time on site, bounce, pages per visit, repeat visits, visit paths, will be cleaner.

Let’s face it, you want to base your decisions on the behaviour of people on your site, not machines.
Better data, better decisions.

If you are having issues with others, particularly errant referral entries, such as semalt*com.
You may need to add a specific filter. Great instructions here. . If those instructions do not work for you, try using the regex “/.semalt/.com”

Hopefully GA will add these guys to their known bots list soon.