Learn from, CEO of MuteSix, Steve Weiss and, Vice President of Paid Search, Harrison Phillips as they dive into Google prospecting and discuss how to use Google as a channel for consumers to discover new products and services.
Episode Transcript — Exploring Google Prospecting w/ Harrison Phillips
Narrator: You're listening to the Spend $10K a Day podcast brought to you by the performance marketing experts at MuteSix. This is your source for cutting edge insight into the world of online advertising, from the team with more Facebook case studies than any other agency on the planet. Here is your host, Steve Weiss.
Steve: Welcome back to today's podcast. Today we have a really interesting person coming to speak on the podcast, Harrison, who runs our Anything Google team. So his main role at MuteSix specifically, is how do we make Google work at scale? And specifically for acquisition focused advertisers, how do we make the harder stuff work, non-branded prospecting work on Google's products?
Harrison: Yeah, that's right. So across search, shopping, display, YouTube.
Steve: And this is a very high level topic. This is an issue I think a lot of brands have from a discovery perspective. How do you make Google work for discovering new products and services? Obviously Facebook and Instagram are great traffic channels for discovering new products and services, whereas obviously Google is not there yet. But YouTube-
Harrison: Right. It's not known for that.
Steve: But YouTube is coming. Today's discussion is specifically around what is the lowest hanging fruit to making prospecting work on Google's network of advertising sites? So search, shopping, YouTube, set display, et cetera, et cetera.
Steve: So what is your thoughts? So you're looking at a search campaign, obviously you look at a lot of search campaigns on a daily basis. Where's the lowest hanging fruit usually when you look at what can make specifically prospecting work?
Harrison: Yeah. Prospecting for a lot of brands on search is just too competitive. The acquisition strategy there that your CPCs are too high, right? So how do you make it work? You have to leverage audiences. So you have to bid on say non-branded keywords, but you only target people who have been to your site before. Then your landing pages engage with your brand in the past. We found that to be the most effective. Second portion of that is just let Google's algorithm work. If you're targeting keywords with a ton of search volume, target CPA, target Roaz, let the algorithm have a learning 14, 21-day period, and then let it do its job.
Steve: So for instance, you said two things there. So number one, obviously if someone's been to your website, searched for your product, we can... That's a form of -re-marketing or re-engagement.
Steve: But better yet, if you're targeting specific competitor lists, you're looking specifically at the amount of search volume for those keywords. And you could target those people not only in search, but also then incorporates a lot into the YouTube stuff that we always discussed on this podcast, is really leveraging the search network to be successful on YouTube.
Harrison: Yeah, so now you can target for whatever someone searched for on the Google search network, on YouTube. It's called custom intent targeting. And you can also target based on what websites they visited. So if they've visited your website, your competitors' website, you can now show them a YouTube ad, which is really powerful.
Steve: And this is YouTube, and obviously we're running YouTube to drive acquisition. This isn't brand-focused YouTube, this is literally we're trying to buy up as much YouTube inventory as possible, in a form of acquisition.
Harrison: Yep. Exactly. It's still really cheap. A lot of times we've seen YouTube acquisition campaigns; the engagement rate, the timeline site, the pages per session, they're on par with your branded campaigns. And this is acquisition. So we're talking about users that are highly engaged coming from a YouTube ad to your site, and driving purchases and revenue.
Steve: So we talked about very high level custom intent targeting, which is obviously taking you Google search data, importing it over to YouTube, which is the next big thing.
Steve: Custom intent, the next biggest thing I think coming out on YouTube. If you're not already running custom intent, I highly recommend just getting in the weeds and testing it out, really figuring out which specific videos you want to place in front of your competitors, and really trying to figure out how do you build evergreen content to engage these new prospecting users, right?
Harrison: That's exactly right. And then the other new strategy that's just come out is called ad sequencing. So now you can run custom intent, but then show that user a sequence of ads. So maybe you want to show them a branded ad first, and then the second ad you want to show is like a testimonial ad like UGC. So now you can... On Google the new format's called ad sequencing. It's proven to work. Leveraging it with custom intent you can actually build a funnel in which video, and how you want your user to see each video. So three videos in a row, a branded video, a product video, and then maybe like a testimonial video.
Steve: So obviously, really important I think for all the e-commerce brands listening to this podcast, having someone on your team who's good at post-production or editing. Highly important. Building these sequencing video funnels on YouTube, obviously. Showing the same exact YouTube video over and over and over again, is not going to drive acquisitions.
Steve: So as Harrison mentioned, one of the biggest strategies that we used to do a lot of split testing with, is this sequencing. We want to understand what is the pattern or set of funnel patterns that users are going to see before they actually make a decision.
Harrison: Exactly. Yep.
Steve: So all right, so we have custom intent. These are all new things that we want you to obviously take away from this podcast and start playing around with. We have sequencing on YouTube. We also... Obviously there's more to Google shopping. I want to do a little high level into Google shopping. But YouTube is where the opportunity is. Lots of very inexpensive clicks. We talked a little about Google shopping, and we'll talk a little bit more about leveraging competitor keywords, which I think is... Going after massive audiences, which we elaborate on a little bit, and really just letting the algorithm, similar to Facebook, kind of run its course and really start rotating in more and more creative into those ad sets. Targeting those bigger audiences. Correct?
Harrison: Yeah exactly. I mean your competitors, especially if they have a similar demographic to who you're trying to target, why not go after them?
Steve: So obviously search, network going after competitors, now let's talk Google shopping. So YouTube, Google shopping, and search network, those are three areas of Google which you have to own.
Steve: What are some of the keys to optimizing a product catalog that you feel?
Harrison: Yeah, your product titles have to include some non-branded keywords. People don't know this. A lot of times when we audit accounts, we see product titles that are very basic, like "White tee-shirt, small," right? When Google looks at that, they're not going to be able to tell what your ideal user is. So for instance, why not say that your product title have your brand name, your product title, the size, the color, and then the non-branded keyword like, "Most comfortable pants," for instance. And then that's how you... The key to shopping is appearing in that first four to five products when you search, right? If you're not in those first four to five products, kind of like Amazon, If you're not in the top, you're not going to get a lot of scale and you're not going to get a lot of performance.
Harrison: So if you're trying to compete with the bigger brands, let's say you're an apparel brand and you're trying to compete with the Gaps and the Coles of the world that have unlimited budgets, you have to optimize your product titles and your product descriptions.
Steve: Interesting. And that is just very similar to Facebook. Very, very important, especially for ranking of these specific keywords. Doing that skill, if you have a 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 product catalog, how do you optimize these product catalogs when you have a process view?
Harrison: You have to have a... We use a third party tool called DataFeedWatch, but you have to either use an automated tool like that, or do it manually. I mean those are really your only two options.
Steve: And you recommend... If You have a lot of skews you recommend DataFeedWatch?
Harrison: Yeah, that's what we use. I mean it works great. There's a ton of tools out there that you can use to optimize your product titles and your product descriptions. But yeah, what we use on our end... Feedonomics. It's another good company that does good work with product feeds.
Steve: Cool. Sounds good. Before we wrap things up, obviously the holidays are here, and I want to talk a little holiday budget. We're almost there, but when do you start running holiday ads in Google?
Harrison: Yeah. We can have two weeks before. And then the cool thing with Google is you have a few different things you can do. You can do countdown ads, you can do promotion extensions. And as it relates to Google shopping, you can do promotional feed. So you can discount certain subsets of your products on your feed, which obviously helps improve click-through rates. So you should be gearing up for the holidays two to three weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and have everything in line.
Steve: It's going to be a fun Black Friday this year.
Harrison: Scale, baby.
Steve: Yeah, I know. Ad extensions, that's a good topic. I feel like that's an area of Google which a lot of companies haven't explored, and haven't really had a ton of success with. Tell me more about how you've leveraged ad extensions to increase CTR?
Harrison: Ad Extensions. Yeah. CTR, yeah exactly. Well listen, you had three to four ads, right? You're bidding on a keyword, there's three to four ads that the user sees before they see the organic results. You want to take up the most real estate out of that. There's three to four ads, so you have to have your site links, you have to have your call out extensions, you have to have your structured snippets and your promotion extensions. There's no reason not to have all of those engaged. So add extensions, if you have them all in there it's proven to help improve click through rates. Give the user more data before they click.
Steve: Cool. All right man. Before we wrap things up Harris, is there anything else you want to share with the audience? Or is this hitting the nail on the head? I mean we went through a lot. We went through ad extensions, we went through YouTube, custom intent. We went through some strategies around competitive bidding. Is there anything else you want to add before we wrap things up?
Harrison: The last thing I would say is, your strategy has to have a comprehensive approach to audiences. You should have a hundred plus audiences in every campaign. Google is... The way they're trying to compete with Facebook right now is at the audience level. So you need to be targeting video viewers. You need to be targeting 'time on site' visitors, you need to be targeting 'add to cart, no transaction'. These are all things that you should be doing in market audiences, similar audiences. You need to be testing these things across all of your accounts. And that's where we see the biggest missed opportunities with accounts that we audit. Audiences. Can't say it enough. That's how you're going to win on Google.
Steve: Cool. All right, great. Hopefully you've got some nuggets out of this podcast that you could leverage to really execute and see some great numbers on Black Friday. Obviously I know you're... Most people who listen to this podcast are running cross channel, so hopefully you could take away a couple of things and run with it. Because I know it's going to be super-competitive out there, and it's time to really get that strategy together and execute.
Harrison: Absolutely. Also, if you want, we have a video on YouTube called the Google Ads Blueprint For Success. Go check that out. It outlines every type of campaign you should be running across search display, shopping, and YouTube.
Steve: Where's that video hosted? It's on the MuteSix?
Harrison: It's on the MuteSix channel.
Steve: So if you go to YouTube, type in MuteSix, and you'll see the Google Ads Blueprint. And we unleashed that to the world for free, so feel free to check that out. And look forward to hearing from you. Steve Weiss. Steve at MuteSix.com.
Harrison: Harrison Phillips, Harrison at MuteSix. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.