Bing Ads Release Enhanced Sitelinks, Google Starts Crawling Locale-Adaptive Websites and More – Digital Marketing News

In this fortnight’s digital marketing news we take a look at Bing Ads’ new enhanced sitelinks, Google’s support of locale-adaptive websites and more.

Bing Ads releases global Enhanced Sitelinks with device preference

Bing’s Enhanced Sitelinks, which allow for additional copy to be added below each ad extension, are now available in the majority of languages and markets supported by Bing Ads. This feature was first introduced to the US back in September 2014, and is now rolling out globally. The update is yet to reach the Hong Kong and Taiwan markets, but will also be released there soon.

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Enhanced Sitelinks appear primarily for brand searches, when the ads are in the top position. Enhanced Sitelinks provide searchers with additional information about the site being advertised and the content it offers, which in turn can provide a better clickthrough rate (CTR) and drive more conversions. When the update was released in the US, Bing Ads reported an average CTR increase of 27%, which goes to show how much of a difference these links can make.

If these sitelinks are used, it is important to note they must not exceed 25 characters, compared to the 35 character limit used for standard sitelinks.

Alongside this update, Bing Ads also launched a device preference option for these sitelinks. This allows marketers to choose the sitelinks that appear on individual devices. So, for example, a business might want its store locator to feature as an Enhanced Sitelink in the Bing SERP for mobile devices only. The new feature allows you to do just that.

Why site speed also affects PPC performance

When Google made site load time a ranking factor, it was primarily an issue an SEO engineer would address. However, as Pauline Jakober mentions, PPC marketers should also keep an eye on site speed issues, as it will affect ad performance.

Most search marketers now understand Google’s ethos is to provide the best search experience to its users, which includes site speed and load times of landing pages, and this applies to paid search too.

In the AdWords help files, it is stated that a poor landing page experience will have a negative effect on your ads:

“We use a combination of automated systems and human evaluation to determine landing page experience on your site. Your ads may show less often (or not at all) if they point to websites that offer a poor user experience.”

In regards to page load time, Google has this to say:

“If it takes too long for your website to load when someone clicks on your ad, they’re more likely to give up and leave your website. This unwelcome behaviour can signal to Google that your landing page experience is poor, which could negatively impact your ad rank. That’s why you want to make sure your landing page load time is up to speed.”

If you find yourself having issues with slow page speeds affecting the performance of your ads, Google has the tools to help you. The Google PageSpeed Insights tool and recommendations in Google Analytics can help to identify and fix these issues.

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Google supports crawling and indexing of locale-adaptive web pages

Websites that make use of content that change based on IP origin or language settings have in the past had issues with Google’s crawlers not being able to access regional content outside of the USA. This is now not such a big issue as the search engine has officially announced new support for its crawlers, which now have the ability to better understand websites that make use of locale-adaptive pages.

As part of this locale-adaptive crawling, Google has introduced new locale-aware crawl configurations to help deal with content that changes based on IP address and/or language settings:

  • Geo-distributed crawling where Googlebot would start to use IP addresses that appear to be coming from outside the USA, in addition to the current IP addresses that appear to be from the USA that Googlebot currently uses
  • Language-dependent crawling where Googlebot will start to crawl with an Accept-Language HTTP header in the request

It is important to note that Google still recommends webmasters use different URLs or even TLDs (top-level domains), along with the correcthreflang annotations:

“These new configurations do not alter our recommendation to use separate URLs with rel=alternate hreflang annotations for each locale. We continue to support and recommend using separate URLs as they are still the best way for users to interact and share your content, and also to maximize indexing and better ranking of all variants of your content.”

Katy Perry performs the first shoppable Super Bowl half-time show

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Super Bowl 2015 made history with the first shoppable half-time show. Fans who watched the Super Bowl on a smart TV were able to purchase items that were related to Katy Perry’s performance without even having to take their eyes off the screen, thanks to ShopTV and smart TVs.

Some examples are Katy Perry socks and a cat “Kitty Purry” cuddly toy.

But if viewers don’t have a smart TV, then Twitter also got involved in Super Bowl history. Shop enabled tweets were sent out throughout the game, allowing fans to view the range of products being sold during Katy Perry’s performance. To complete the purchase, fans could use Visa Checkout, again meaning they didn’t have to leave the comfort of their sofa to complete a transaction.

Alicia Jessop from Huffington Post explained how this innovation motivated companies like Visa to become involved. Jessop quotes Lisa Balazs, Visa's senior vice president of global research and marketing analytics:

At Visa, we are always interested in bringing consumers innovative, easier ways to pay. We had this opportunity brought to us and specifically thought it would be perfect, given the wide appeal of the Super Bowl and the fact that people want to watch the Super Bowl -- not get off of their couches to make a payment."

Throughout the Super Bowl, Pepsi and ShopTV tweeted out product suggestions that allowed fans using Twitter to click the ‘buy’ button to make purchases during the show. Jessop follows this up by writing that:

“Going forward, fans should expect to see the creation of more shoppable moments during heavily viewed televised events.”

This opens a whole new opportunity for retailers, brands and businesses that want to gain publicity and engage their audience during popular events, providing them with a seamless method of transaction.

Of course, it’s not just smart TVs that open doors to new ways of purchasing. Despite Google announcing that it is ending sales of Google Glass, wearable technology is being adopted by more and more consumers. Find out more in our blog post from online content creator Tiffany Holland: What Does Tesco’s Google Glass App Tell Us About Marketing and Wearables?

Facebook helps marketers better understand the impact of Facebook ads

Facebook has expanded its conversion lift capabilities, allowing marketers to determine exactly how Facebook ads have impacted their business. This can further help marketers make future decisions based upon the data collected from the expanded data.

Facebook states that conversion lift “accurately captures the impact that Facebook ads have in driving business for marketers”.

Measuring conversion lift addresses measurement challenges that marketers are currently facing, for example:

  • The rapid shift to mobile
  • Over reliance on clicks
  • Ineffective testing methods

Australia’s leading provider of online education, Open Colleges used a conversion lift study to measure the full impact of its Facebook campaigns. It found a:

95% lift in conversion rate for website inquiries and a 12% lift in offline enrollments. The study also showed that the cost per acquisition was 23% lower than what Open Colleges’ last click model had indicated.”

Kevin Lynch, the chief marketing officer of Open Colleges, said, “We now know exactly which Facebook ads are helping us enroll more students”.

Facebook informs advertisers that those who already work directly with Facebook teams have the ability to set up conversion lift case studies with their account representatives. The advertisers can see these results in the ads manager reporting. These results will be in near real-time, which will therefore provide marketers with a more detailed measurement of the impact of their ads.

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