Who Gets the Credit?  The Attribution Headache

How many times have you started researching holidays on your mobile on lunch break, then continued on the iPad at night?  A few more searches on your laptop when you’re getting serious about booking, maybe even looked up YouTube videos on the destination on your Smart TV?  

As you then take the next few days and weeks to think about it before booking, you’ll be retargeted with Facebook ads, Google display ads and more – everywhere you look you’ll see golden beaches and deck chairs staring back at you, until eventually you cave and book, but what channel closed the deal…and is that even the one that should get the credit?

This is where the attribution debate begins.  Marketing budgets are precious, so we have to ensure you are putting money into the right channels.

Over 58% of markets use a last click attribution model, which assigns all credit to the last thing you clicked before you booked, but is this really fair?  It’s a question we’ll never agree on I’m sure, but it’s good to take a look at how your performance report shapes up when you use the other attribution models too.

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So what are the other options?  Well, first click, last click and data-driven are the better-known options.  Another is linear, where the conversion is evenly attributed across all touch points.  There’s also time decay, which is sometimes criticised as it has a short 7-day window but can be good for more urgent services such as emergency window repair and dentistry. 

The final option is position based, which was much-praised for fairness at the presentation.  The position based model assigns 40% of the credit to the first and last click, the rest is split between the middle touch points.  This is seen as a good starting point, so is worth exploring.


However you decide to split your data, the most important thing to keep in mind is that there will almost always be multiple touch-points with your business before a person converts.

Each is important, as it is building brand awareness and credibility for your business, so use a blend of channels and placements as part of your marketing strategy.

Check out more insights from the Google NYC visit here.

Google Ad Suggestions – Save Time, Increase Sales

At a recent visit to Google NYC, we learnt that over 44% of people only have 1 ad in each ad group, which is a rookie fail.  Luckily, Google have just launched a cool new tool called “Ad Suggestions” to save us time and make us more money #win-win.

Research has shown that ad groups with 3 or more high-quality ads can get up to 5% to 15% more clicks or conversions than ad groups with only 1 ad, provided ad rotation has been optimised.

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We are all so different, one or two good ads are not going to appeal to everyone.  As an example, under 30s are generally more receptive to a 10% off message than a free shipping message.  We’re all searching for ads that solve different problems, one ad cannot possibly keep everyone happy.

So with multiple campaigns and ad groups, who has time to create multiple ads for each seriously?!

Introducing auto Ad Suggestions, and they’re pretty damn good.  We were shown examples of ads written by a human and some by a bot – it really was impossible to tell the difference.

Auto Ad Suggestions

How it works is, Google’s genius bots scan your existing ads, and re-phrase/re-order to create different versions of the ads.  You can also apply some clever rules to personalise ads further, which are called ‘if statements’.  For example, an ad that says “Stay at The New Yorker Hotel from $200 per night” could be personalised to include “10% off for Returning Guests” when the ad is shown to a previous booker.  

Google is also working on ‘in market’ audiences for search, currently a feature open to display only.  This uses past search and browsing history to nail down if someone is a serious searcher, and actually ‘in the market’ to book now.  These are warmer leads so will be able to drive higher conversion rates.

Check out more from our time at Google in our blogs here.

10 Golden Insights from Google Experts

We picked up some amazing Google Adwords tips on our recent visit to Google NYC.  Check out our top 10 tips below…

1. The Magic Number 7

Stick to 5-7 ad groups per campaign as a maximum – too many ad groups can kill your campaigns.  This may conflict with what you (and we) have been told by Google in the past so make sure you move with the times.

2. Location Issues

Having multiple locations in a campaign will give Google a headache.  It is trying to evenly split your budget through the day, but as different time zones come into play, you’ll struggle to get all of the impressions you could be getting.  Split your locations down to timezone to boost impression share.

3. Be Clever with Terms

It may be obvious, but it was interesting to see such a huge difference in auction prices for ‘rigging’ vs ‘moving’, and ‘dog trainer’ vs ‘dog training’ – make sure you’re really testing your terms, and using your budget wisely.

4. Scale Slowwwwlllyy

When a campaign is on fire, the urge to pump that budget up must be resisted as it can trash a campaign.  Try to avoid increasing budget by more than 10-15% weekly so the campaign remains stable.

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5. Copy and Paste

When you want to change your match types, make sure you copy and paste then pause the old terms.  If you change the existing term match type, you’ll lose the historical data for it which is always annoying.

6. Tackle Timewasters

Sick of wasting budget on dreamers?  Try out the ‘price from’ extension to filter out those who won’t convert.  If you have a high ticket product or service, also consider a call only ad, as you’ll be more likely to convert them this way.

7. Get a Google Number

Message extensions are a really handy way to get instant leads – the faster you get back to them the more likely that they’ll convert.  Don’t want to share your mobile number?  Get a free Google number to disguise your personal one.

8. Remarketing Wins

Your past buyers are 5 x more likely to convert than new customers.  Many clients think they don’t have to remarket as customers will just come back.  The truth is we’re a fickle bunch – a free shipping offer, 10% off, or just being in the right place at the right time could sway your past customers to use someone else – grab them back!

9. Lookalikes are Hot Leads 

Lookalike audiences can have a 65% higher click-through rate than other audiences!  As with Facebook, Google knows SO much about all of us to such depth, these lookalike audiences they can build are amazing and ready to be tapped into.

10. Be Ad Smart

In each ad group, you have the ability to show a series of different ads with variations in the message.  Despite this, over 44% of people only have one ad in each ad group!

I will be writing a whole blog on the brilliant dynamic ad opportunities now available to make automatic variations and increase CTRs, watch this space for more!

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Google’s Smart Targeting & Search Results 

It’s a common misconception that Facebook holds all the cards when it comes to deep targeting.  They know what music you like, if you shop online, probably what you had for breakfast, which is golden for us advertisers trying to find your perfect target audience.

The truth is, Google has an amazing source of information about its users, but it seems to slip under the radar whilst Mark Zuckerberg gets grilled on a weekly basis about the Big Brother age of digital.

Do you have a secret obsession with YouTube unboxing videos? Google knows.  Been searching for sun-drenched escapes to Barbados?  Google knows.  The beauty of having a universal login to your Google, Gmail, YouTube etc, is that Google is getting all of the ‘signals’ it needs to know all about you (probably better than you know yourself).  This allows ad targeting on the deepest level, and makes the power of Google ads run deeper than your gender and location.

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YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google, with over 1 billion users all searching and giving clues about their interests and desires in the videos they view.  

This is where artificial intelligence comes into play.  It doesn’t pre-judge like humans naturally do.  It learns and gets smarter over time.  It evolves and results constantly improve to be tailored to each individual user.

As voice search grows over time, were not searching ‘keywords’, we are searching for answers to solve a problem we have, and keywords don’t capture intent.  If you have a broken boiler, how a landlord, a homeowner or a renter approach a search to fix it will be completely different.  AI will be key to get our business in front of the right person with the right ads and at the right time.

Don’t miss the next blog for more on the changes in search and attribution – join our Facebook Group here.

Learn more about the Age of Assistance here

The Age of Assistance

During my recent visit to Google NYC, I got to sit in on an interesting talk by Amy Swartz from the Google team. She highlighted just how ‘curious, demanding and impatient’ we are increasingly becoming when searching on our mobiles, home devices, smart TVs, laptops and more….

Over 21.6m households are now headed up by millennials, up from 13.3m in 2013. With this change comes a shift in how we rely on the digital world every day.

Over 20% of searches are now done by voice – this will be up to 50% in no time with the increasing options for mobile search. So how does this affect the way we search?


Length of keyword terms

When you select keywords for your campaigns, do you mainly go with 1 or 2 word search terms like most do? Think about how you would perform a voice search, would you say one or two words e.g party balloons, or would you say “where can I buy party balloons online with fast delivery?”

How we voice search is different to typing, opening up huge opportunities for long tail keywords and phrases to catch those lower competition, longer key terms.

‘Near me’ searches

One of the most interesting things to me in this ‘curious, demanding and impatient’ era is that we now expect so much more from a search engine, without probably realising we’re doing it.

Several years ago, it was important to include ‘near me’ or ‘in london’ for example in searches, so we appeared when locally relevant. Amy explained that there has been a significant drop off in these searches – Google users simply expect the search results to be near and relevant to them without having to type it in or speak it.

Increase in immediate searches

There has been a huge 150% increase in travel searches for stays ‘today’ or ‘tonight’ on the platform. We are in the age of assistance, where we rely on Google like a digital concierge there to help us instantly when we need it.

The rise and rise of mobile is obviously a contributing factor, but it’s an interesting change in expectations that we are no longer prepared to wait for anything (I’m blaming Amazon Prime for my own impatience!)

So with this ‘curious, demanding and impatient’ attitude to search, Google has the big job of evolving to meet our growing needs. Check out our next blog to see how Google is moving into an ‘AI first world’ to make search results even smarter….

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