7 Time-Saving Google Analytics Custom Reports – Search Engine Watch

Google Analytics Custom Reports can be incredible time savers if you have the right reports. Instead of spending time digging around for important metrics, you can find what you need separated neatly into columns for some analysis that will lead to some actionable insight.

1. Content Efficiency Analysis Report

This report is from none other than the master of Google Analytics, Avinash Kaushik. Brands all over the world are starting to double down on content so it’s important to answer questions such as:

  • What types of content (text, videos, pictures, etc.) perform best?
  • What content delivers the most business value?
  • What content is the most engaging?

content-effiency-report-google-analytics

The Content Efficiency Analysis Report comes in handy by putting all the key content metrics into one spot.

Here are the columns that the report will pull in:

  • Page title
  • Entrances
  • Unique Visitors
  • Bounces
  • Pageviews
  • Avg. Time on Page
  • Per Visit Goal Value
  • Goal Completions

Click Here To Get the Content Efficiency Analysis Report!

2. Keyword Analysis Report

keyword-analysis-report-google-analytics

If you’re doing SEO, you want to make sure that your optimization efforts are working as intended. Is the right keyword pointing to the right page?

This first tab of this report, Targeting, will break things down by placing the title and keyword side-by-side. The four metrics you’ll see are:

  • Unique Visitors
  • Goal Completions
  • Goal Conversion Rate
  • Avg. Page Load Time (sec)

Using the 4 metrics above, you’ll be able to judge whether you need to make adjustments to your campaign or not.

The second tab, Engagement, will tell you how effective each page is by looking at the following six metrics:

  • Unique Pageviews
  • Pages/Visit
  • Avg. Time on Page
  • Bounce Rate
  • Percentage Exit
  • Goal Conversion Rate

The third and final tab, Revenue, will tell you how much money a keyword is bringing you based on 3 metrics:

  • Revenue
  • Per Visit Value
  • Ecommerce Conversion Rate

Click Here To Get the Keyword Analysis Report!

3. Link Analysis Report

link-analysis-report-google-analytics

What websites are sending you the best traffic? If you’re link building, what links are worth going back for more? Link building isn’t all about rankings, it’s about increasing traffic and conversions as well. If you find a few gems, it’s worth looking into them more.

Here are the columns you’ll see with the report:

  • Source
  • Landing Page
  • Visits
  • Goal Completions
  • Pages/Visit
  • Bounce Rate
  • Percentage New Visits

Click Here to Get The Link Analysis Report!

4. PPC Keywords Report

If you’re paying for search traffic, you obviously want to discover high performing keywords. You can then take this data and use it for future SEO campaigns.

Here are the metrics in this report:

  • Visits
  • CPC
  • Goal Completions
  • Cost per Conversion

By breaking things down easily, you’ll be able to hone in one which keywords you need to put on hold and which ones you need to pour more cash into.

Get the PPC Keywords Report Here!

5. Social Media Report

social-media-report-google-analytics

Ah yes, a report that tells you how different social media channels are performing for you. This is a simple way to figure out where you should consider investing more time into socially.

The social media report looks at:

  • Visits
  • Social Actions
  • Goal Completions
  • Goal Conversion Rate
  • Goal Value

Get the Social Media Report Here!

6. E-commerce Traffic Report

ecommerce-traffic-report

If you run an e-commerce site, it’s important to break down your different traffic channels to see which one performs best. Why is one channel performing better than the other? Is it worth it to invest more in a campaign that is trending upwards? Is your investment with paid advertising effective?

This report answers some of your e-commerce questions by looking at the following metrics:

  • Visits
  • Percentage New Visits
  • Bounce Rate
  • Pages/Visit
  • Revenue
  • Media Value
  • Per Visit Value

Get the Ecommerce Traffic Report!

7. Browser Report

browser-report-google-analytics

This report will tell you how different browsers are performing for your site. You’ll immediately see which browsers are your winners and which ones might have problems.

For example, if Chrome and Firefox seem to be doing OK but if Internet Explorer has extremely high bounce rates, you might want to look into Internet Explorer more. After all, Internet Explorer has x percent of the browser share. (research market share for internet explorer)

Get the Browser Report Here!

Bonus: Custom Reporting in Google Analytics

Jaime from SEOmoz created a wonderful realtime Google Analytics report. Here’s what it looks like:

google-analytics-realtime-data

Image Credit: SEOmoz

This spreadsheet allows you to compare different metrics of your choice with different start and end dates as well. You can easily see how your campaigns are performing from a high level all in the comfort of a clean Google Doc.

Get the Google Analytics Custom Reporting Spreadsheet Here!Want even more custom reports? Make sure to read Greg Habermann’s top five most used Google Analytics Custom Reports to learn about and get custom reports for Unique Visitors by Page; Conversion by Time of Day; Customer Behavior; Top Converting Landing Pages; and Long Tail Converters.

Conclusion

Google Custom Reports ultimately save you a lot of time and help you make actionable decisions that will help your bottom line. Take a few minutes to set these reports up and explore them. You won’t regret it.

What are some useful Google Analytics Custom Reports that you use?

Editor’s note: This column originally was published on May 16, 2012, and comes in at No. 5 on our countdown of the 10 most popular Search Engine Watch columns of 2012. As the clock ticks down to 2013, we’re celebrating the Best of 2012 by revisiting our most popular columns, as determined by our readers. Enjoy and keep checking back!

How to set up event tracking in Google Analytics – Search Engine Watch

Event tracking is one of the most useful features in Google Analytics.

With just a little bit of extra code, you can capture all kinds of information about how people behave on your site.

Event tracking lets you maestro just about any action that doesn’t trigger a new page to load, such as watching a video or clicking on an outbound link. This data can be invaluable in improving your site.

There are two different ways you can set up event tracking in Google Analytics. One way is to add the code manually. The other is to set up tracking through Google Tag Manager.

Both methods are doable without a developer, although you may find it easier to use Google Tag Manager if you have no coding experience.

How to set up event tracking manually

What exactly is an event? Before you start tracking events, it’s important to understand how they’re put together. Each event is made up of four components that you define. These are category, action, label, and value.

Category

A category is an overall group of events. You can create more than one type of event to track in the same category “basket.”

For instance, you could create a category called Downloads to group a number of different events involving various downloads from your site.

Action

An event’s action describes the particular action that the event is set up to track. If you’re tracking downloads of a PDF file, for instance, you might call your event’s action Download PDF.

Label

Your label provides more information about the action taken. For instance, if you have several PDFs available for download on your site, you can keep track of how many people download each one by labeling each separate event with the PDF’s title.

A label is optional, but it’s almost always a good idea to use one.

Value

Value is an optional component that lets you track a numerical value associated with an event. Unlike the first three components, which are made up of text, value is always an integer.

For instance, if you wanted to keep track of a video’s load time, you would use the value component to do so. If you don’t need to keep track of anything numerical, it’s fine to leave this component out of your event.

A table of the four components of an event. Source: Google Analytics

Step one: Decide how to structure your reports

Before you dive into tracking your events, come up with a plan for how you want your data to be organized. Decide which categories, actions, and labels you’ll use, and choose a clear and consistent naming pattern for them.

Remember, if you decide to change the structure of your event tracking later, your data won’t be reorganized retroactively. A little thought and planning up front can save you a lot of hassle down the road.

Step two: Connect your site to Google Analytics

If you haven’t done so already, set up a Google Analytics property and get your tracking ID. You can find your tracking ID by going to the admin section of your GA account and navigating to the property you want to track.

Merienda you have your ID, add the following snippet right after the tag of each page:







This code snippet enables Google Analytics to track events on your site. Replace GA_TRACKING_ID with your own tracking ID. Source: Analytics Help

Step three: Add code snippets to elements you want to track

Here is the format for an event tracking code snippet:

ga('send', 'event', [eventCategory], [eventAction], [eventLabel], [eventValue], [fieldsObject]);

After filling in the information that defines the event you want to track, add this snippet to the relevant element on your webpage. You’ll need to use something called an event handler to do so.

An event handler is a HTML term that triggers your tracking code to fire when a specific action is completed. For instance, if you wanted to track how many times visitors clicked on a button, you would use the onclick event handler and your code would look like this:

You can find a list of common event handlers, as well as a more in-depth explanation on how they work, here.

Step four: Verify that your code is working

Merienda you’ve added event tracking code to your page, the final step is to make sure it’s working. The simplest way to do this is to trigger the event yourself. Then, check Google Analytics to see if the event showed up.

You can view your tracked events by clicking “Behavior” in the sidebar and scrolling down to “Events.”

Your tracked events can be found under “Behavior” in Google Analytics.

How to set up event tracking with Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager can be a little tricky to navigate if you aren’t accesible with it. However, if you’ve never worked with code before, you might find tracking events with GTM easier than doing it manually.

If you have a large site or you want to track many different things, GTM can also help you scale your event tracking easily.

Step one: Enable built-in click variables

You’ll need GTM’s built-in click variables to create your tags and triggers, so start by making sure they are enabled. Select “Variables” in the sidebar and click the “Configure” button.

Enabling built-in click variables, step one

Then make sure all the click variables are checked.

Enabling built-in click variables, step two. Source

Step two: Create a new tag for the event you want to track

Click “Tags” on the sidebar. Then click the “New” button. You’ll have the option to select your tag type. Choose “Universal Analytics.”

Creating a new tag in Google Tag Manager

Step three: Configure your tag

Set your new tag’s track type to “Event.” Fill in all the relevant information – category, action, label, etc. – in the fields that appear underneath, and click “Continue.”

An example of how to configure a new tag in Google Tag Manager. Source: Analytics Help

Step four: Specify your trigger

Specify the trigger that will make your tag fire – for instance, a click. If you are creating a new trigger (as opposed to using one you’ve created in the past), you will need to configure it.

Types of triggers that you can choose in Google Tag Manager

An example of how to configure a trigger. This one fires when a certain URL is clicked. Source: Johannes Mehlem

Step five: Save the finished tag

After you save your trigger, it should show up in your tag. Click “Save Tag” to complete the process.

A tag that is ready to go. Source: Analytics Help

The takeaway and extra resources

Event tracking is one of the most useful and versatile analytics techniques available – you can use it to maestro nearly anything you want. While this guide will get you started, there’s a lot more to know about event tracking with Google Analytics, so don’t be afraid to look for resources that will help you understand event tracking.

Courses like the 2018 Google Analytics Bootcamp on Udemy (which I used to help write this article) will give you a solid grounding in how to use Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, so you’ll be able to proceed with confidence.

An absolute beginner’s guide to setting up Google Analytics for your website – Search Engine Watch

This article was originally published on our sister site ClickZ, but it’s so helpful we thought we’d share it here too.

Our beginner’s guide to Google Analytics teaches you how to set up an account that is linked to your site and recommends a few basic metrics to look at.

Google Analytics is a free service that tracks and reports website traffic. Providing insight into the demographics of site visitors, the performance of a specific campaign, and how long people are staying on your site for, are just a few of the many things the program is capable of. 

This data gives you an all round better view of how your site is doing and allows you to understand what improvements can be made to make sure you’re optimizing different areas for maximum conversion. 

In the below tutorial, we will walk you through some basics of Google Analytics and what you need to do in order to get started.

Set up an account

If you have a major Google account such as Gmail or YouTube, you are eligible to create a Google Analytics account by following the below instructions.

new account

This account should be only accessed by YOU. Of course, you can authorize other people to act on your behalf if necessary. However, you will not want them to take full control over your data.  

For example, ClickZ has granted me access to the company account, but I cannot change account and property settings. This is done to protect the publication and ensure that if I leave, other admins will still have access to the overall account.

clickz google analytics account

my account

In comparison, I can do whatever I want with my personal Google Analytics.

Add tracking code to your website

Google Analytics cannot work until it is linked to your webpages. When you finish setting up a new account, Google will ask you to “Get Tracking ID.” Click on the button and you will see your code.

tracking code

You can always go back to your tracking information under “Property.”

my account 2

This code needs to be added to every page. How to install it depends on your content type. For instance, some Tumblr templates only require the Universal Analytics (UA) code, as show below.

tumblr tracking code

While some blog platforms like WordPress may ask for full script, if you build a website with HTML files, you can edit HTML and paste the code before “”. 

Today many websites like ClickZ are using Google Tag Manager to implement tracking code.

Manage your site search

Merienda you connect Google Analytics with your website, you can set up site search to know what visitors are looking for on your website.

In “View Settings,” turn on site search tracking and enter your website name and URL. The query parameter is usually “s” or “q.” You can determine yours by searching on your own site.

ClickZ site search - S

For example, if you enter “mobile” into ClickZ’s search bar, you will see s= (ClickZ’s query parameters) followed by your query.

Site search - mobile

You can also contact your company’s web development department to identify the query parameter for your site.

After you save all the settings, Google Analytics will be able to track any searches made on your website.

Goal set up

Aside from site search, you should also set up a goal so Google Analytics can track important activities on your site. For example, an e-commerce platform may trigger a confirmation page for every placed order, or a digital publisher may create a “Thank You” page when a reader subscribes to its newsletter.

To set up a goal, go to “Goals,” create “New Goal,” and choose “Custom” under “Goal setup.” Then go to “Next Step” where you can name your goal (“Subscribe Success” for example) and select “Destination” if an activity ends on a “Thank You.” If your conversion goal is one step further and you’d like your visitors to watch a video clip after they have reached the Thank You page, then you can add “Event” tracking to your goal set up in order to measure this. 

goal setup 2

Each goal type has its own requirements and can be customized to what your own KPIs are. In the example of “Subscribe Success” below, I decided to forego “Destination” and go straight to “Event” in order to measure conversions. 

goal setup 3

Google Analytics will start measuring conversation when a described activity is triggered. You can create up to 20 goals on your website.

Basic Google Analytics metrics

You can customize many Google Analytics reports based on your needs. But in “Audience Overall,” you can find some basic yet useful stats around your website.

Take our sister publication Search Engine Watch (SEW) for instance – you can view positive changes in pageviews and sessions from last September to date. Hovering over the line will show you the number of pageviews and sessions for a particular day. (We’ve erased some of the data below as we don’t want to give away all our secrets!)

search engine watch

Under the graph, Google Analytics tells you more about the number of users, bounce rate, promedio session duration, as well as the ratio of new visitors to returning visitors.

SEW 2

Beneath those main metrics, Google Analytics also shows demographics of SEW’s readers, including their countries, languages, and devices where they consume content.

Other more in-depth metrics include audience report, acquisition report, behavior report, and conversions report. For example, merienda you have linked social media and Google Analytics, you will be able to track a particular social media campaign and get related stats under “Acquisition.”

Acquisitin

We hope you’ve enjoyed our first installment of Google Analytics for beginners. Stay tuned for the next in the series soon!

Analytics Archives – Search Engine Watch

An analytics tool is a hugely useful and in-depth tool for measuring and monitoring your website’s performance.

You can derive meaning out of the data, report back accurate ROI to your bosses and help you justify further improvements or strategies.

Best of all, many of analytics packages are completely free, including Google Analytics. However when you open up Google Analytics for the first time, it’s very easy to be confused by the various terms.

What’s the difference between a session and a pageview? What does bounce rate mean? How do I create my own segments?

This is where Search Engine Watch comes in. We have the answers to all your questions about data and analytics. We offer universal overviews of how to use analytics tools in plain language. We also delve into tips and tricks that will help even the most advanced analyst getting the most from their site.

Latest Analytics News

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Data science focuses on eliminating guesswork from SEO. Brands like Airbnb and Netflix are doing it and so can you. Tips to improve SEO using data science.

Four tools your business needs for better metric reporting

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steps to deliver better technical seo to your clients

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Despite how code-heavy and cumbersome technical SEO may seem, grasping its core concepts are closely within reach for most search marketers. Sure, it helps to have HTML chops or a developer on hand. But the idea of delivering top-tier technical SEO services shouldn’t feel as intimidating as it is for most agencies and consultants.

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amazon google market share for ecommerce, data

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“We know Amazon and Google are big, but in reality many of us still underestimate them.” Jumpshot’s Head of Insights shares data on ecommerce market share.

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Three tools providing actionable competitive research insight

Three tools providing actionable competitive research insight

The powerful driving source of any business is its competition. Three competitive research tools that provide highly actionable insights.

alexa.com search tools updates competitive analysis

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Now, the free tool “automatically generates top competing sites that it uses as the basis for a more in-depth competitive analysis report,” Alexa.com President Andrew Ramm told SEW.

Eight steps for an advanced PPC competitor analysis – Search Engine Watch

What is your unique value? How do you separate yourself from the competition?  

I’m not asking what you came up with in a marketing meeting, but what really makes you better than the competition from your customer’s perspective?

The battle for leads, customers and revenue through PPC advertising is fierce and it’s getting harder and harder to differentiate yourself.

You’re bidding on your brand terms and core keywords, but so are your top competitors. Often this leads to a bidding war, which we all know means higher CPC prices.

force-awakens-toys-google-search

One way to gain an advantage and win the PPC battle is to conduct an in-depth competitor analysis, or what I call PPC competitor audit.

Analyze your industry or market by completing a competitor analysis, which allows you to evaluate your business against the competition. It will help you answer the following questions…

  • How do we measure up?
  • Do we have room to improve?
  • Who is dominating this industry?

To gain insights that you can genuinely act upon, you need to see how you stack up against the competition.

Try to identify any opportunities or threats that need to be addressed. Conducting a deep dive into your direct competitors’ impression share, keywords, ads, landing pages, messaging, and offers gives you a better understanding of the marketplace and how you can improve your conversion funnel.

To help with this, I’m sharing my eight-step process to audit the competition and gain an advantage. An approach based on my experience in the PPC advertising space.

#1: Self-Reflection to clearly define market and competitors

The first step is to clearly define what you do, what problem you solve and why are you are in business.

Take a moment for some company self-reflection by asking yourself….

  • What is it that we do?
  • What exactly are we selling?

Keep in mind that what you think you’re selling may not actually be what you’re selling from the customers’ perspective. For example, alarm system companies seemingly sell alarm systems, but actually they sell peace of mind.

So take a moment to write down exactly what you sell from the customers’ point of view. Also take a moment to write down what makes your business unique and why you stand out from the competition.

Do you have the best prices, best customer service or do you offer something unique in your industry? Do you offer anything the competition doesn’t have?

Step one consists of a self-reflection exercise where you document what your business does and what makes your company special or unique.

Next up, marketing 101 class, have you specifically defined your exact target market or ideal customer?

In B2C you want to answer the following questions:

  • Who are my customers?
  • Where do they live?
  • What’s their gender and age range?

If you’re selling to B2B companies you need to answer questions like:

  • What size of companies are we targeting?
  • What industries are a good fit for us?
  • Who is the buyer for my product or service? Title?

Overall, the most important part of this step is making sure you define your target market as specifically as possible.

You also want to focus on your ideal, most profitable customer so you know exactly who you should be targeting and prioritize efforts that get you in front of those ‘best customers’.

One mistake people make is thinking, “Our target customers are companies with X employees in Y and Z industries, but we also don’t want to miss smaller companies in different industries.”

The problem with this thinking is that instead of focusing your marketing efforts on ideal customers who will make up 80% to 90% of your customer saco, you’ll end up focusing on ideal customers and customers outside of your target market who are much less likely to make a purchase. This waters down your marketing effort and diminishes the results.

It’s much better to focus on your ideal most profitable customers and accidentally pick up some customers who are outside of that list, rather than focusing on everyone who could possibly buy your product, without focusing on the people who are the most likely to make a purchase.

Total Addressable Market (TAM) is good to show investors but too broad to target everyone, get specific and use these five PPC keyword research tools.

#2: Competitor price comparison analysis

Price isn’t everything, but it is very important. Merienda you have clearly defined your target market, take some time to conduct a competitor price comparison.

This step is to see where you fall in the marketplace so you know how to position yourself and where your business fits in the pricing spectrum: lowest, medium, highest priced.

For example, is price an advantage for you because you’re a discount service provider? Or are you premium-priced which means you need to justify to customers the value and specifically why you are more expensive.

Either way, conducting a price-comparison analysis helps you to know where you are in the market and how you can use that to your advantage.

One thing to keep in mind is that you may need to request pricing directly from competitors. Not everyone has their prices advertised on their website, which means you may need to conduct a secret inquiry to find out how much their service or product costs.

Understanding the marketplace pricing range helps you adjust and fine tune your messaging strategy accordingly.

#3: Analyze competitor unique value propositions

Step four consists of analyzing each competitor’s unique value propositions (UVP) with the goal of seeing how yours compares to the competition.

Take a moment to visit your competitors’ websites and to write down their UVPs. If they have one.

In case you need a refresher on what a unique value proposition is, here’s a definition:

A unique value proposition is a concise statement explaining what benefit your customers will experience from using your product or service while also demonstrating what makes your business unique.

One well-known example is GEICO because you know that you’ll save money by signing up.

They aren’t promising the most comprehensive insurance in the world, but they do promise great rates.  “…See what you could save” or “15 minutes can save you 15%.”

geico-homepage

BMW sits on the other end of the spectrum with a unique value proposition that tells customers that BMW builds the ultimate driving machine.

bmw-lifestyle

This helps them stand out from less expensive cars while also positioning them uniquely next to other luxury cars like Mercedes and Lexus.

Keep in mind that a unique value proposition is different than a tagline or a homepage headline but should be communicated through both the tagline and headline.

An important function of a value proposition is to create an emotional attachment to your brand and to capture what makes your product or service unique and valuable.

In order to figure out your own unique value proposition, you need to know your competitors’ UVPs, so take a moment to write those down now.

Merienda you’ve done that, write your current unique value proposition down. You may need to change it later, but for now, write it down and save it.

#4: Analyze search result ads, offers and calls to action

Another important step is to study your competitors’ ad copy variations.

Take notes on what ad extensions they’re using and what ad copy they’re writing in order to stand out.

You also want to pay attention to whether or not they’re running special offers or discounts to entice searchers to click through.

Take some time to analyze the SERPs because this is where a big part of the battle will either be won or lost.

lowe-s-ppc-ad-google-search

You especially want to take notes on what it takes to stand out and what it will take to have the strongest or one of the strongest offers in the SERPs.

#5: Dig into Google AdWords auction insights

If you’re already doing PPC and bidding on AdWords terms, you can go into Auction Insights under details to see what your impression share is and where your competitors show up.

adwords-auction-insights

You can also use a keyword tool to evaluate each competitor you are bidding against and quickly see their top keywords, what ads they’re running, and what landing pages they’re directing traffic to.

#6: Take a deep dive into the conversion funnel

Too many people look at competitive intelligence in keyword and ad silos. I like to look at competitive intelligence from the users’ perspective by comparing my conversion funnel to the competition.

Not only do you want to look at what keywords and ad copy variations competitors’ are using, but you also want to take a look at their landing pages.

How are they converting they’re traffic? Are they offering a free guide or a discount to people who click through from Google?

Pay close attention to what competitors are doing in terms of ads, landing pages and calls to action. Take notes on anything that will help you improve your landing pages or ideas to test new ads.

#7: Apply what you’ve learnt and review your UVP

Now that we’ve conducted our in-depth competitor analysis, let’s go back to your UVP to see how it looks.

Does it convey a value proposition that communicates why people will get value out of using your service? Is it unique? Will it stand out enough in the marketplace?

Take a moment to review your UVP with these questions and your competitor analysis in mind before deciding whether or not it needs to be improved or whether or not it’s okay as it is.

After you’ve reviewed your UVP, do the same with your PPC campaigns.

Are there keyword groups you discovered that competitors are bidding on that you’re not?

What about your ad copy, is there something you can change or a new offer you can run to better compete?

Take a look at your entire conversion funnel in light of the competitive analysis you’ve conducted to see where it can be improved and how your offers, messaging, and keyword grouping can become more competitive.

#8: Continue to maestro the competition

The final step, now that you’ve applied what you learned to your website and PPC campaign, is to continue monitoring your competition.

It’s possible that your competitors’ will launch a new product or feature set, change their prices, or update their messaging and unique value proposition.

This means you need to constantly maestro your competition so you’re the first to know when they make a change. When possible, it’s best to use competitive intelligence tools to automate this process so you don’t have to manually track competitors yourself.

Using campaign watch software you can see which competitors have launched new ads or landing page offers and how ads look on the Google search engine results page SERPs from different times and locations.

This wraps up my eight step guide to an advanced competitor audit. Let me know if you would add any other steps or share how you use competitor intelligence.

29 super useful PPC tools you need to try this year – Search Engine Watch

Since the dawn of mankind – and since the dawn of pay-per-click marketing – we have been inventing new tools to help us survive and overcome challenges. All our tools began as very primitive and basic, but have evolved greatly as time went on.

Now in 2016, tools are essential for professional marketers. The right PPC tools will save you time, provide crucial insights, inspire you, and ultimately make more money for your company or your clients.

If you’re ready to take an evolutionary leap of your own, check out this list of 29 amazing PPC tools you need to try this year.

Note: These are all tools that I use and recommend. Some I use daily, others less often or I have used in the past, but each tool on this list is valuable and useful. None of the creators of any of these tools asked to be included on this list or paid for the privilege.

PPC management

1. AdWords Editor

If you regularly work on large campaigns or campaigns across multiple accounts in Google AdWords, then you need AdWords Editor. It has almost everything you need for bulk edits and optimizations. Although it looks similar to the AdWords you’re used to online, the desktop version is probably about three to five times faster. Essential!

2. Bing Ads Editor

If you’re using Bing Ads (and you should be), then Bing Ads Editor is a must-have. It’s a solid all-in-one tool for managing your Bing Ads campaigns.

bing-ads-demographic-targeting

3. Optmyzr

At the U.S. Search Awards, Optmyzr won for having the “Best PPC Management Software” and for good reason. Optmyzr offers a variety of tools (optimization suggestions, data visualizations, advanced reporting, and scripts) to help you manage AdWords and Bing Ads campaigns. Plans start at $116 a month, and you can try it out for free for 14 days.

4. Free AdWords Performance Grader

Get a thorough audit of your AdWords account in 60 seconds or less with the Free AdWords Performance Grader from WordStream. Full disclaimer: I’m the CTO of WordStream. So seriously, don’t take my word on it. Here’s an coetáneo review from Sharon H. on G2Crowd:

“WordStream makes sense out of Adwords and goes a long way to eliminate the frustration and cost. WordStream gives me important feedback on critical performance factors, and makes it easy to adjust and improve campaigns.”

5. AdEspresso

AdEspresso is a great tool for Facebook advertisers to create, optimize, and analyze campaigns. You can check it out for free with a 14-day trial; monthly pricing starts at $49.

AdEspresso

Keyword and competitor research

6. SEMrush

Need to gain insight into your competition? SEMrush is one of the best tools to find valuable, detailed keyword and domain data. It costs $58 per month if you sign up for their annual plan.

7. Spyfu

SpyFu has some really cool features other tools lack, such as the ability to download all of your competitors’ keywords. It also has a slick interface with plenty of important at-a-glance information easily available. Annual plans start at $49.

spyfu

8. iSpionage

ISpionage is easy-to-use competitive intelligence tool. It provides accurate, up-to-date competitive intelligence information and is a great way to size up competing websites and their online marketing efforts. Plans start at $59 per month.

9. Google Keyword Planner

I’d be shocked if you aren’t already using Google’s Keyword Planner. It’s an essential PPC tool for keyword research.

10. Google Trends

Search trend data can be incredibly valuable when adjusting campaigns to match seasonal demand. Google Trends is an essential free data source smart PPC marketers should be consulting.

Google Trends

Call tracking, analytics, and conversion rate optimization

11. Invoca

Phone calls are incredibly valuable to businesses. You need to understand who is calling and why. Invoca provides an solution to capture, manage, and track those all-important calls. It integrates with 30 platforms. Pricing starts at $1,000 per month.

12. Twilio

Twilio is a great option for call tracking and analytics. You can cheaply and easily buy phone numbers (lugar or toll free) and record phone calls to those numbers. Pricing is on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Call Tracking

13. Call Carril

CallRail is another option for phone call tracking, recording, and analytics. CallRail features Google Analytics and AdWords integration. Pricing starts at $30 per month, with a 14-day free trial.

14. Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides everything you need to track the effectiveness of your PPC campaigns and website performance. It’s free, but there is a Premium option for large enterprises.

15. Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics provides a wealth of data. I won’t lie, I’m a bit obsessed with Twitter Analytics data. You can discover how many people are really seeing and engaging with your tweets, whether your campaigns are effective, and all sorts of valuable demographic data about your followers.

Twitter Analytics account overview

16. Certified Knowledge

Brad Geddes has a nice suite of tools at Certified Knowledge that will help you analyze data, create tons of ads; and optimize your quality score. Prices start at $79 per month.

17. Unbounce

Need to build a landing page? Meet Unbounce, which offers more than 80 templates for just about every type of landing page you need (products, sales, lead generation, eBooks, etc.). Pricing starts at $49 per month, but you can sign up for a free trial.

unbounce

18. LeadPages

LeadPages offers a simple landing page builder, as well as dozens of landing page and minisite templates to choose from. Yearly packages start at $25.

PPC ad copy inspiration

19. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is all kinds of awesome. It shows you the most shared content. Catchy article headlines (the type that get tons of shares and links) will also make catchy PPC ad headlines! BuzzSumo plans start at $99 per month.

20. Ubersuggest

You can get some good keyword ideas from Ubersuggest. This popular free keyword tool offers thousands of suggestions based on the keywords you type in.

Display ad image inspiration and creation

21. Share as Image

Share as Image is mainly touted as a tool for content marketers, but you can also use it to quickly create awesome display ads. Just be sure to check image copyrights before taking your ad live! Share as Image offers a free account, as well as a monthly plan starting at $8.

share as an image

22. Canva

Canva is another tool that you can use to easily create striking display ads with their drag-and-drop interface. Upload your own assets to work with (for free), or pay a small fee to use images from their library.

23. Pinterest

Need some inspiration for display ad images? Spend some time browsing on Pinterest. It’s a fantastic tool for saving, organizing, and discovering amazing visuals to get your creative juices flowing.

24. Facebook Text Overlay Tool

Facebook has a frustrating rule that your ad (images and video thumbnails) can’t contain more than 20 percent text. To make sure you’re compliant so your ads can run on Facebook (and Instagram), use the Facebook Text Overlay Tool. If your text spills into 6 or more boxes of their grid, you’ll have to edit your ad and check it again until you get it right.

25. gifntext

Gifntext is so baller – and non-obvious. You can use it to create amazing GIFs for use in social and display ads! I almost hate to give this one away because I love that nobody is using it. So seriously, don’t use it. 🙂

doge

PPC Automation

26. AdWords Scripts

Love AdWords Scripts? Who doesn’t? Scripts let you automate nightmarishly time-consuming tasks. Daniel Gilbert and Brainlabs have an insanely awesome collection of AdWords scripts – everything from advanced A/B testing, to close variant matching, to competitor tracking. Amazing stuff here!

Apps

27. Google AdWords App

If you ever need to do some AdWords campaign management in a taxi/Uber/whatever, you’re in luck. This beautiful and fast app for Android and iOS lets you adjust keyword bids, enable/disable AdWords objects (e.g., campaigns, ads, ad groups), and act on various recommendations from AdWords. You can’t create new text ads or campaigns or add keywords manually, however.

28. Facebook Ads Manager App

The Facebook Ads Manager App (for iOS and Android) lets you manage your campaigns. You can track the performance of your ads, edit ads, adjust your budgets, and even create new ads – all from your mobile device.

29. Google Analytics App

The Google Analytics is a bit limited – and by a “bit” I mean a “lot”. But if you’re on the go and need to quickly check on your stats or reports, this app will let you do just that.

Google Analytics app

What’s your favorite tool?

What PPC tools from this list do you use and love? Any tools I missed? Share your recommendations in the comments.

click-through rate Archives – Search Engine Watch

click-through rate

Nine types of meta descriptions that win more clicks

Nine types of meta descriptions that win more clicks

I’ll walk you through nine types of meta description tags with screenshots and examples, showing you what works well and how they could do better.

The SEO metrics that really matter for your business

The SEO metrics that really matter for your business

Understand the best metrics for your business when it comes to SEO, view them from a technical and commercial perspective. Lots of screenshots included.

Understanding click-through rate (CTR) in the context of search satisfaction

Click-through rate (CTR) has historically been an important cifra in gauging the quality of results in information retrieval tasks – and search is no exception. But to truly understand how Google interprets “success” in search results, we need to understand something called search satisfaction.

How creating relevant experiences can boost your clicks on nave search ads

We all know by now that mobile has had a tremendous impact on our lives as consumers and as marketers. What we are still getting our collective heads around is what this change means for us as marketers.

How will Google’s new ‘Ad’ label impact marketers?

Google started testing a new ‘Ad’ label in January this year, and late last week it was confirmed that this will now be rolled out globally.

Why you NEED to raise organic CTR (and 4 ways to do it)

Does organic click-through rate (CTR) data impact page rankings on Google? This has been a huge topic of speculation for years within the search industry.

Click-through rate (CTR) might beat PageRank for Google’s top search results

If we assume, as the joke goes, that the best place to hide a dead body is on page two of Google, we can assume it has a lot of click data to play around with on page one but much less after that point.

Your Guide to Structured Snippets for SEO

Structured snippets are going to change the way people find information on the Web, and you’ll need to adjust your optimization strategies as a result.

Using Analytical Analysis to Help Improve Conversions

The secret to getting the most success out of your initiatives typically lies in accessing the biggest hammer in your marketing tool bag, analytics!

seoClarity: In Mobile World, Search Result Placement Is Critical to Clicks

Search engine optimization – and where a website appears in search results – can have a significant impact on click-through rate (CTR), especially for mobile search.

PPC budget strategy: Tips for success on a limited budget – Search Engine Watch

You don’t need a large budget for an effective PPC strategy. Here’s how to maximize the success of your PPC campaigns regardless of the size of your budget.

The budget of a PPC campaign can play an important role in its performance. However, it doesn’t guarantee successful results without a proper planning first.

It’s common to believe that the bigger the budget for your PPC campaign, the better the results. But small businesses, or those without a lot of resource to allocate to PPC, may not always have the option of increasing budget. So how can you be as successful as possible with what you have?

This article will set out how you can manage your PPC strategy in a way that maximizes the benefits of your budget, no matter what its size.

Note: This article is an updated version of John Gagnon’s excellent piece, PPC Budget Strategy 101, and incorporates several of his insights.

Set clear goals for your campaign

Forward planning is critical when getting started with PPC. Having a pre-defined outcome for your paid search campaign will help you to avoid over-spending and incurring unexpected extra costs, so the first step is to set your goals.

Decide on what you’d like to achieve with your campaigns and how you’re going to achieve it.

Estimate your budget

Merienda you’ve set your goals, it’s time to decide on the initial budget that you’d like to use for your campaigns. 

The first question is to decide on the number of leads that you’d like to gain through PPC. The answer should be aligned with your available resources and the goals you set in the last step.

The next step is to make sure that you’ve clearly defined what counts as a lead for your business before you start calculating the CPA (cost-per-action) to expect.

Wordstream has presented this process in a graphic that explains how your expectations for the number of leads and the conversions can help you determine your PPC budget.

For example, if your client goal is to gain 250 new ones per month and your current close rate is 15% with a cost of $25/lead, you will need a budget of $41,666 per month to generate 1,667 PPC leads.

In this case, a quick solution is to use your budget in campaigns that involve lower CPA to increase your chances of higher success.

Be strategic with the allocation of your budget

The next step is to aim for an improved CPA. A cost-efficient CPA helps you become more strategic with your PPC campaigns, and allows you to determine the most effective ads to apply your budget to.

If you want to lower the CPA, then you need to:

  • Increase your conversion rate (CVR), and
  • Decrease your cost per click (CPC).

By focusing on the best performing ads and lowering your CPA, you can spend your budget more wisely.

As always when calculating ROI, the higher the revenue when compared with expenditure, the better the investment.

You might now be wondering what steps you can take to increase your CVR, or decrease your CPC. If so, read on for some tips on how to do exactly that.

Perform keyword research

Carrying out in-depth keyword research should help you spot the best opportunities to reach your audience. 

A keyword list has to be thorough, relevant and dynamic. You want your list to include the most popular keywords that resonate with your target audience, but also long tail keywords that offer a great opportunity for more specific targeting.

To calculate the effectiveness of your keyword bidding strategy, you can follow this formula:

Keyword searches x CTR = Estimated traffic

For example, 1,500 monthly searches x 4% click-through rate = 60 visits per month.

This way you can analyze both the search volume, but also the cost per click to decide if it brings you closer to your goals.

A good tip to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns with a limited budget is to continually review the performance of your keywords.

By analyzing your keywords during the campaign, you can determine whether or not they’re effective – and if not, you can re-allocate your budget to avoid wasting resources on keywords that don’t work.

Focus on targeting

Taking a closer look at campaign targeting can save you money while improving the relevance of your ads for your audience.

If your campaign is only interested in driving leads from one specific location, for example, you can geo-target your PPC campaign to avoid wasting spend on targeting a integral audience.

Geo-targeting increases the chances of success for your campaign if you want to focus on restringido marketing to drive conversions.

Moreover, keyword targeting should help you pay for the ads that work better for your business. There’s no need to pay for broad match keywords or competitor keywords that only waste your budget. By adding them as negative keywords, you can focus on the most effective ones to increase the conversions.

Improve your Quality Score

Your AdWords Quality Score affects both your cost per click, but also the conversions. Google considers the Quality Score of significant importance, and your CPA depends on it.

If you are aiming for a lower cost per action, then you need to ensure that you improve your Quality Score.

The best ways to do so are to:

  • Create relevant ads for your target audience
  • Focus on the right keywords
  • Keep your ad groups organised and structured
  • Refine your landing pages to be helpful and relevant to each ad
  • Focus on ad copy to improve your CTR
  • Build your AdWords account performance to improve your reputation

The good thing about the Quality Score is that merienda you start building your reputation, you’ll be able to save money on keyword bids. This way, you can rank higher without necessarily spending more than your competitors.

It’s also useful to revisit your ad groups from time to time to keep the ones that work better. Focus on the most successful ad sets and stop investing your budget in the ones with low conversions.

Overview

It’s not the budget that determines the success of your campaign, but your strategy. Your PPC budget strategy is all about focusing on the best-performing ads while constantly reviewing performance to make sure you are allocating resources in the most effective ways.

If you feel limited by your budget, it’s useful to start small and expand your reach merienda you’ve learned which strategies work best for your business.

A good understanding of the target audience, relevant keywords and a structured PPC strategy can help you maximize the potential of your campaign even on a small budget.

Google Optimize and Session Quality Score: a brief guide – Search Engine Watch

Google announced on its Analytics blog and at SMX East the launch of some intriguing updates to its Analytics platform.

Notably a free version of Optimize 360 and a new metric, Session Quality Score.

Optimize: what is it?

Optimize 360 was launched as an enterprise-level product in March this year, and is essentially a landing page testing tool that allows site owners to test page layouts and copy without changing a page’s source code.

image06

This new version, for which users can sign up to trial now, will be available for anyone with an Analytics account worldwide, free of charge.

How will it work?

The functionality is similar to the likes of Optimizely (as is the name), with the significant advantage of an automatic and direct tie to other Google products, such as DoubleClick, AdWords and Audience 360.

The opportunities for remarketing to highly qualified leads are clear, as are the possibilities for testing different copy for a range of audience segments, so this news will be assessed in detail by Search professionals.

Session Quality Score: what is it?

This is a new metric due to be launched later in the year and it is a very interesting announcement.

Google says that Session Quality Score will “predict the likelihood of a visitor making a transaction (purchase) on your site or app”, based on past behaviour, data taken from similar users, and myriad other factors.

image03

Driven by the same machine learning technology that drives its Smart Goals product, this is another reflection of Google’s objective to become a ‘machine-learning first’ company.

What does all of this mean?

At a time when device, personalization and customer engagement factors are increasing in importance, this is certainly welcome news as marketers try to target users in ever-more granular detail.

How effective these features are at launch remains to be seen, but given the technology and backing behind them, there is good reason to believe both Optimize and Session Quality Score will have a significant impact on site owners and search marketers.

3 Simple Ways to Optimize Your AdWords Remarketing Campaign Now – Search Engine Watch

When Google AdWords remarketing first hit the scene in 2010, many of us wondered how we’d be able to optimize this type of online advertising as we did with the flexibility of search ads.

Sure, remarketing was a great way to continue advertising to people who had already visited our websites, but what could be done beyond just showing them ads over and over as they moved about the Web?

Five years and multiple new features later, we’ve found that there are so many ways advertisers can streamline their remarketing campaigns for improved return on investment (ROI).

And while the possibilities are seemingly endless, there are a few “go-to” areas in your remarketing campaign you can analyze first when you want to boost your ROI. With a few small adjustments and tests, you can garner significant results.

In this post, we’ll look at the following three ways you can optimize your AdWords remarketing campaign now:

      The type of advertisement
      Frequency and duration of the ad impression
      Auditing your remarketing lists

    1. Types of Ads and Their Performance

    When you’re running a remarketing campaign in the display network, you have a few types of ads to choose from: text ads, image ads, and video ads. The following chart via AdWords illustrates ad formats by type of advertising:

    remarketing-ad-types

    As you probably know, within each of those ad formats, there are additional things to consider. For example, your image ads can be created in multiple sizes like the square, banner, leaderboard, rectangle, skyscraper ad, and so on.

    There are multiple ways in which you can optimize these image ads, and you can learn more about that here in the AdWords help files.

    When optimizing a remarketing campaign, the ad type we’re using is one of the first things I analyze. Google recommends creating three to four display ads per ad group and testing different messaging and image ad sizes to see what works; I agree with that, but also encourage you to explore the oft-overlooked remarketing ad type: the text ad.

    Text ads are the most basic form of display ads, and simply look like a search ad, but are displayed on websites your target customer is browsing on:

    remarketing-text-ad

    Some people will scoff at the text ad for display – especially when there is so much appeal in the image ad, and particularly if you’re a B2C-type company selling consumer goods.

    It’s true that text ads for remarketing aren’t for everyone, but should not be ruled out. In fact, text ads can sometimes have an advantage over their display counterparts because they may be supported in more of the websites you want your ad to be.

    (You can read more on the image contra text ads debate in this AdWords forum discussion; see the response by user Jon_Gritton on the notion of text ads being supported in more places.)

    The key is to test all formats, and see which converts better for your brand. We’ve found results all across the board, and in some cases, text ads crush the performance of display ads for certain types clients, like B2Bs, for example.

    So while the default decision when remarketing for display may be to create a bunch of image ads and let it ride, don’t forget about the simplicity of the llamativo text-based ad, either. You may be surprised at the results.

    2. Frequency and Duration That Your Ads Show

    Remarketing can be a delicate vaivén between staying top of mind and literally stalking your target customer. Show up too little, and you may be overlooked; too much, and your target customer could get irritated.

    In my experience, it’s better to start off in the sometimes-uncomfortable area of “we may be stalking you,” test the performance of that frequency, and scale back from there. This can be accomplished through your frequency capping setting in AdWords.

    Frequency capping allows you to set how many times an ad will impression to an individual prospect on the display network over a given time period (per day, week, month, etc.).

    We’ve come to find a happy medium in many cases is seven to 10 impressions per target customer per day. Even this frequency can make some advertisers uncomfortable, but try it first, and make slight adjustments throughout the life of the campaign to see which frequency moves the needle more.

    If you’re feeling very bold, experiment. It could be interesting to see the results of a test where you set the frequency cap very low for a period of time, and then open it up to unlimited for that same time period to see what that does for performance.

    If you’ve created remarketing lists in the past, you’re likely also ascendiente with the “membership” duration. Membership duration refers to how long a user’s cookie is set to receive the ads in your remarketing campaign.

    The default setting is 30 days, but you can modify it based on your products, services and industry to match your typical sales cycle. From the AdWords help files, here is a brief explanation:

    If you sell movie tickets, you might select a membership duration of a few days only, but if you sell cars, you might choose a duration of a few months. You’d do this because while it might not take too much time for people to decide they want to buy movie tickets, it generally takes longer to make the decision to buy a car. Similarly, if you sell Valentine’s Day gifts, you might choose a membership duration of a year plus a few days so that you can reach the customers on your list when Valentine’s Day comes around the next year.

    While each campaign is different, you’ll want to keep additional considerations in mind when thinking about the duration, like the length of the membership duration with other factors such as impressions per day. So, for example, if you have a longer membership duration, you may play with lowering the frequency cap to find that sweet spot.

    3. Auditing Your Remarketing Lists

    Depending on the volume of advertising you do, set your calendar to audit your remarketing campaigns at least merienda per quarter. Are there new features you can take advantage of? Old settings you can get rid of? Certain visitors you can omit from the campaign, because they’ve already converted? New ways you can group your Web pages for remarketing?

    Check out the custom combination list, feature to help you do this. With custom combination lists, you can do things like the following (from AdWords):

    Custom combination lists let you create advanced lists out of existing remarketing lists. Say that you want to offer a special price to people who buy three products as a set – for example, a mobile phone, a headset, and a charger – but these products are in three different URLs. To create a remarketing list of people who visited the three products, you could create one list of “people who visited the mobile phones page,” one list of “people who visited the headset page,” and a third list of “people who visited the charger page.” Then, you could create a custom combination to reach people who saw the mobile page AND the headset page AND the charger page.

    In closing, remember that Google AdWords is continuously improving its remarketing product. Since it launched in 2010, we’ve seen the introduction of dynamic remarketing and remarketing lists for search ads, too.

    Surprisingly, many brands are not yet taking advantage of remarketing, and even if they do, many aren’t able to keep up with all the great features that make this advertising option as targeted as others in the AdWords suite.

    So go on, and make that remarketing campaign one that can target those already interested prospects with advertising that makes them convert. Start optimizing your remarketing right now.