Blog

Jun 27 2016

No, the Green Ad Label Did Not Dramatically Increase Google Text Ad CTR

Recently the search community appears to have lost their collective mind over the question - did changing the color of the tiny label denoting ads as paid links from yellow to green increase ad CTR beginning in April? Logically, the answer to that question is no, given that Google didn’t even roll green ad labels out to all users until mid-June and were only testing the feature for a limited number of searches until that point. Even ignoring that fact, our data just doesn’t back up any increase in CTR as a result of green ad labels, and there are several reasons why analysis to the contrary might be flawed.
Jun 21 2016

In the Age of Dying CSEs, Feed Management is More Important Than Ever

Despite the decline of traditional comparison shopping engines, feed management has become even more important for advertisers with the growth of product ads and dynamic remarketing capabilities through Google, Bing Ads, and Yahoo. Much more than a set it and forget it optimization, proper feed management requires dedicated analyst oversight to take advantage of product-based ad formats.
Jun 09 2016

Google Testing New Product Listing Ad Filter Buttons on Mobile, Including In-Store Availability

Google continues to test a variety of different mobile Product Listing Ad formats and features to aid in the format's growth. We have recently spotted the addition of an "In Store" filter button, which appears to be helping drive an increase in online orders for offline pickup.
Jun 07 2016

Expanded Text Ads Latest Example of Paid Search Updates SEOs Need to Be Accounting For

Changes to paid search ads over the past year have significantly impacted organic performance. Google's recent update to AdWords text ad specs is just the latest example of paid search changes SEOs must be aware of in analyizing results.
Jun 06 2016

Organic Search Traffic Down in May? The Google App May Be to Blame

While reviewing natural search performance for several clients in May, an interesting and concerning trend became apparent – organic search traffic is trending downward. This shift coincided with the release of an update to the Google app for Android devices, which may be increasing the amount of "dark search" traffic.
May 31 2016

What You Need to Know About Google Demographics for Search Ads, Including 20 Months of Data

Publically announced last Tuesday at Google’s Performance Summit but long available for marketers whitelisted into the Beta, AdWords Demographics for Search Ads targeting allows advertisers to adjust bids and targeting based on searchers’ age and gender. Using performance data for one Merkle advertiser that’s had age and gender targets added to some campaigns in its AdWords account with 0% bid modifiers since October 2014, here we walk through some of the major points that marketers should understand as these targeting capabilities roll out to more advertisers.
May 26 2016

Google Shopping Campaigns Webinar: 3 Important Areas of Focus

Join us on Wednesday June 01, 2016 at 2 PM ET as AnnaMarie Thomas, Partner Manager for Google Shopping, and Todd Bowman, Director of Feed Management at Merkle, go over three of the most important areas of focus advertisers should keep in mind when it comes to Google Shopping campaigns.
May 09 2016

It Sure Looks Like Yahoo is Showing a Lot More Google Shopping Ads

Since Yahoo announced in October 2015 that it had struck a new search ad deal with Google, advertisers and analysts have been left to wonder if or when the agreement would lead to any meaningful changes in the search advertising landscape. Keen-eyed marketers had spotted Google ads serving on Yahoo even in the months before the official announcement, but until recently, these tests (including a new Product Listing Ad (PLA) format) appeared to have remained very limited. Merkle data now suggests that Yahoo began significantly ramping up its use of Google Shopping Ads (aka PLAs) as early as the end of March.
May 03 2016

Branding in China's Digital Golden Age: What Marketers Need to Know About Brand-Building on Baidu

It’s no secret that Chinese consumers are among the world’s most brand-conscious buyers. In fact, they’re willing to pay more for branded products compared to their price-driven peers in other markets. Chinese consumers are also more likely to use search to research and validate brands, while US searchers are more likely to search non-brand products and look for price comparisons. As such, brand value is extremely important in China. Sounds like a brand marketer’s dream. But why should this matter to digital marketers? It matters because China is the world’s largest mobile market. Its rising middle class is extremely comfortable purchasing across digital devices, not to mention nearly 90% of Chinese consumers use Baidu for search. Simply put, the stakes are high for brands in China’s hyper-competitive digital ecosystem.
Apr 25 2016

Google Dominance Grows with Mobile Search

It wasn’t that long ago that predicting Google would struggle in the age of mobile was all the rage. Looking at the landscape of today, however, it’s clear that Google is doing quite well for itself with the growth of mobile device usage. If anything, it seems, we should have all been worried about the fate of Bing and Yahoo in the age of mobile.
Apr 19 2016

Merkle Digital Marketing Report: Q1 2016 Released

We are exicted to announce the release of the Merkle Q1 2016 Digital Marketing Report for download. This comprehensive report covers the trends and changes shaping the digital marketing landscape across paid search, display advertising, SEO, social media, and more.
Mar 24 2016

What the Google Desktop SERP Update Means for Organic Search

On February 19 Google began rolling out changes to its desktop search results, expanding the vertical real estate given to paid search results and eliminating right-rail ads. Here are a few takeaways for SEOs to consider.
Mar 22 2016

Recent Google Shopping Test Replaces Product Titles with Brand Names

Google is always testing various ad formats, both in text ads and in PLAs. One new format that we at Merkle started to notice in January and that continues to show to this day is the replacement of product titles with the product’s brand when you click an ad within the Shopping tab.
Mar 16 2016

Tablet Brand Organic Traffic Down Significantly Since November SERP Changes

Google's tablet SERP layout is now much different after major changes were made in late 2015. Learn how this is impacting organic performance.
Mar 04 2016

Google’s Right Ads Removal and Fourth Top-of-Page Ad: A Deep Dive into the Data Two Weeks In

For a change that has drawn so much attention, it is proving exceedingly difficult to find much of a big picture impact on key metrics from Google removing text ads from the right hand side (RHS) of the search results page and increasing their serving of a fourth top of page ad listing above the organic results, but certainly some individual advertisers may be more affected than others, and even advertisers seeing little overall impact are likely to see noticeable impacts to individual keywords and queries.
Feb 24 2016

Using Customer Match Lists in AdWords Campaigns Targeting YouTube

Google's Customer Match offers advertisers great possibilities for targeting users matched to email lists. Learn how to set Customer Match targeting up for YouTube campaigns and some ways this can be used to effectively reach your customers.
Feb 19 2016

Google Reducing Right Hand Rail Ads for Desktop Searches

Early data indicates Google is showing fewer ads on the right rail for desktop searches.
Feb 17 2016

Bing Ads Match Types Drive Unexpected Traffic

The queries matching to phrase and exact match Bing Ads keywords may surprise many advertisers.
Feb 12 2016

Google Moves to Require Product GTIN in Feeds

This week Google announced that starting in May all products with assigned Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN) from the manufacturer will be required to be submitted with the correct GTIN value.
Feb 08 2016

Merkle's 3rd Annual Digital Bowl Report Released

We are excited to announce the release of the 3rd edition of the Merkle Digital Bowl Report for download. This report pits Super Bowl television advertisers against each other in judging which brands made the most of their investment through digital amplification in paid search, email, SEO, display advertising, and social media.
Feb 02 2016

Broad Match Modifiers: A Big Difference Between Bing and AdWords You May Not be Aware Of

There's a huge difference in how Google and Bing define which search queries can match to Broad Match Modifier keywords that could be impacting your paid search performance.
Jan 26 2016

Merkle Digital Marketing Report: Q4 2015 Released

Today, we are pleased to announce the release of the Merkle Q4 2015 Digital Marketing Report. This report highlights trends and changes in the digital marketing space, providing data and commentary across paid search, SEO, display advertising, social media and more.
Jan 15 2016

Google Product Listing Ads Live in Image Search

Google began showing PLAs in image searches on phones for advertisers with PLA campaigns opted into the search partner network in December.
Jan 07 2016

Merkle|RKG and the Oregon Natural Desert Association Fence Pull

Read about Merkle|RKG's work with the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) to protect the Badlands Wilderness.
Dec 18 2015

A Guide to Measuring In-Store Purchases Tied to Online Advertising

Learn about the tools available to digital marketers that can help provide visibility into the offline spillover of online interactions.