Played with GA voice commands yet? We asked 10 questions - here’s what we got back

Google has added a way to mine data for insights with voice-based navigation that’s fueled by artificial intelligence, and it's improving and maturing every day.

Although it will bomb when asking it complicated things like "Does social media drive SEO conversions", it can tackle most straightforward requests (data analysts, your job is safe for now!).

Here's 10 questions we asked GA:

What was my traffic last week?

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How many conversions have I received this month?

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When do my visitors mostly convert?

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What % of my users are female?

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What percentage of my users were on safari last year?

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What are my highest converting GOALS?

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Is tablet traffic growing or shrinking?

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Which social network gets me the most visitors

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Which website referrer gets me the most conversions

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Which landing page had the lowest average session duration last month?

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Conclusion:

The Google Analytics voice commands feature is easy to use, and can retreave most GA data with your voice. It is part of a broader initiative within Google called Analytics Intelligence, which aims to give customers a better understanding of their Google Analytics data. It can save previous data you recently asked. It allows everyone to ask basic questions for themselves, freeing up data analysts to focus on more complex, strategic issues.

GDPR Launching Late May - Does it Affect Me in AU?

Undoubtedly you’ve heard of GDPR and the many 100’s of articles, opinions and comments written about it in the lead up to the launch in 11 days so we at Nimbull wanted to give you a run down on what you need to know.

What Is GDPR?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is Europe’s newest iteration of their existing data protection legislation. The already strict data collection and consumer privacy laws across the biggest economies in Europe are only getting stricter.

What Does It Mean?

Simply put, GDPR changes the way consent is gathered from website visitors for tracking their online activity and allowing third party tech on your site to collect and use this information. In the past, if you visited an EU or UK based website you’d see a simple banner at the bottom of the page requesting you to close the banner as acceptance of the website tracking your online activity. What the websites didn’t tell you was the number of other tracking platforms on their site that were also tracking you and building rich profiles about customers. Moving forward, websites will explicitly need to gain approval from the customer and clearly outline how / what data they are collecting and more importantly guide the user to where they can view/download their data and delete the same.

Does It Affect Me In Australia?

Yes and no, whether you’re a global business or even a small retailer in country NSW, its important to understand the GDPR as even if one of your customers is located in the EU then you need to update your information consent policies. For consent solutions you can visit cookiechoices.org, which has examples of consent language and available third party consent solutions.

Recommended Action

Check your records and if you’ve got any customers from the EU or plan to expand to the EU, think through how you will collect consent from users across your sites and apps. You may wish to use your own consent mechanism or one of the solutions listed at cookiechoices.org. Note it is important that any tech vendor you use needs to comply with the GDPR regulation as well. If you allow their tag on your site its your responsibility to understand what information they collect.

In closing, the GDPR is a step in the right direction in providing control back to the consumer over their data but it is seen as providing more power to the large publishers like Facebook, Google and Amazon as users rarely log out of these platforms and visit them across all their devices (tablets, laptops and phones). For the new laws to be successful, the EU government legal teams need to provide greater clarity to smaller publishers, tech companies and companies (retailers, etc) on how they continue to do business without spending thousands of dollars trying to comply with every nuance of the GDPR.

What’s at stake for FB if the senate rolls out their own industry regulation?

The online privacy debate has reached its most intense point to date, culminating in Zuck‘s speech on the hill. Despite tensions running high, this will hopefully deliver a clearer path to necessary user protections over the long term. A lasting balance between all the economic benefits of the commerce generated by digital advertising (needed for business growth and jobs), and also user privacy, is hopefully on the way. 

But perhaps the most impactful moment of Zuck’s testimony was when one senator old enough to be his grandfather said “If Facebook and other online companies will not or cannot fix the privacy invasions, then we are going to have to, we the Congress.” Zucks face reacted as would a teen’s seeing their parents home one day early in the middle of an unauthorised house party! This was for good reason. 

Any abstraction of user data the Congress would regulate would result in a loss in effectiveness for Facebook Ads, which is the companies primary income source. For example, advertisers can now target holiday makers by the number of weeks left before they leave for their holiday. These sorts of “privacy invasions” would likely be first on the chopping block. Less effective ads means less spend on ads. 

Despite defering “to his team” a lot during questioning, Zuck did unbelievably well to answer clearly and not crack under immense pressure. His comments of “it was my mistake, and I’m sorry, I started Facebook and I run it” are an amazing PR crisis management feat. So perfectly scripted, I can see him in his jammies saying it in the mirror. The real art of that statement is that it gives all concerned parties the avenue of focusing their blame on Zuck personally, but also defuses the situation as no one person could realistically oversee the monster complexity of the Facebook machine. 

The mere hint Zuck made about a paid version of Facebook sent stocks soaring up 4.5 percent, the biggest one day gain in 2 years. Regardless of the pressure FB is now facing, they are part of an elite now realistically “too big to fail” and will whether the storm. With social now too important to simply “delete” from our lives, let’s hope the day after the storm looks good for users and businesses alike. 

 

Honey, It Happened Again... DON'T Mess Up Digital These Holidays

With many industries pulling in over 30% of their yearly revenue during the holiday season, it's time to get serious about digital marketing.

 
  • Everything dies off on Dec 18 when shipping won’t get it there by Xmas. Front load your media budgets to Nov and early Dec!

  • Seasonal Industry data! - hit your agency, platforms, tech providers and search engines for relevant tips and market data that can make you shine at Christmas time.

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  • Who’s covering? Let's face it, there WILL be a shitfight about who’s working on Xmas eve, Christmas day and especially NYE and NYD. The earlier you rope in that recently joined unsuspecting junior the better. He may feel better about waking up on a random couch on new year’s day faced with reactivating campaigns from his blurry iPhone.

  • Hard to reach account managers get even harder to reach. That Search Engine rep who takes 4 days getting back to you at the best of times has probably already told you to get in all your questions by Dec 8 when he’s flying home to London or Delhi. It’s now or nineteenth of Jan!

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  • Fight the lure of generic Xmas strategies like buying high volume keywords like “Christmas gift”. If it hasn’t worked 5 Christmases in a row what makes you think this one's gonna be any different.

  • Christmas skin? We’re not talking about that tasty layer of fat you only eat on Dec 25th every year (right?).

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Put a touch of Christmas on all your landing pages and promotions. You don’t need to skin your whole website with reindeer and frolicking elves. Something as simple as a little Santa hat on the corner of a website frame will demonstrate credibility, brand tone and can boost average session duration and conversion rates. A silly Santa meme on Dec 24th sent via Hootsuite could make that unrealistic LIKES target your boss set last January a reality. You may even get a Xma$$$ bonus. Better than a 1 year membership to the jelly of the month club!

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  • “Last 30 days” data ain’t gonna cut it. Get proactive about Device and ad scheduling to meet the “out and about” nature of the holidays. This will vary by industry but you can count on conversion rates spiking in retail and mobile being key between Xmas and NYE. Mobile bid multipliers or routing all your budget to “mobile only” can help you crush competitors on platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Shopping, Bing Ads and Adroll.

  • Shake off that hangover and have a look at what actually happened. Looking at y/y data 11 months from now will not be as effective as doing some custom reporting to assess wins and loses of this years Xmas campaign. Set a calendar invite on Oct 15 to look at the data again and kick-start Xmas planning once again.

Don’t be a Griswold these holidays! Your jolly Nimbull digital marketer is here to help!

Adwords Extends Daily Overdelivery to 200% of Cap - Watch Closely!

What is happening?


Google announced that "Starting October 4, 2017, to help you hit your advertising goals like clicks and conversions, your campaigns can now spend up to twice your average daily budget automatically". They also confirm that you won’t be charged more than your monthly charging limit: the average number of days in a month (30.4) multiplied by your average daily budget.


How will it effect Adwords campaigns?


Starting October 4, 2017, campaigns daily budgets can overspend by double i.e 200%, automatically. This was previously 120%. You might see that your advertising costs each day are a little higher or lower than what you set for your daily budget. There will be a risk of overspend, especially if you don't keep to a strict calendar month. This may also effect advertisers who are very keen to have a very even spread of clicks over the month, making it a little harder to achieve.


Why would Google do this?


This will be great for Google's Adwords revenues. They can take the demand while its there. This may result in a greater overall spend on Google. Even if this is a tiny amount per advertiser, added up over the millions of Adwords customers, this could deliver millions to their bottom line. They may also feel that customers using tools like their auto bid optimiser could get better overall performance by taking demand while its there, but this remains to be seen.


What should you do to prepare?


- You need to keep an eye on your campaigns daily budget every 2-3 days.

-  You can set an email alert when costs exceed the daily cap by a certain percentage.

With ‘Overdelivery’ credits, hopefully most of this will be mitigated. Sometimes campaigns deliver over your monthly budget and in those cases, Google will credit the overdelivery cost back. This is a measure that should help advertisers feel a bit better about this change. Advertisers can see overdelivery by day from the Reports section in Adwords.

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A Nimbull Digital Marketer can help you maximise this opportunity. Reach out with questions anytime. We'd love to hear from you.
 

APPLE vs ADWORDS - Will ITP Affect Me?

What is happening?

Later in September, Apple will introduce a feature called Intelligent Tracking Prevention. They are doing this to balance user privacy with website functionality. This will interfere with Google Adwords conversion tracking, and Apple would have known Google Adwords would be the most effected by this before making the call. It will mean that users that convert on safari over 24 hours after the click, will not be counted in the same old way. Adwords are on it, and have solutions in play. These solutions don't appear to require any action from the Adwords user. This is in both the below scenarios:

1) where Google Analytics and Adwords are Linked and auto taggin is on (counting should be exactly as before).

2) Google Analytics and Adwords are not linked (will use statistical modeling, and should get very close to old Safari conversion counting methodology).

Google's Technical Implementation

Google is addressing ITP with a method that keeps with Apple’s guidance around ad attribution, which states, “We recommend server-side storage for attribution of ad impressions on your website. Link decoration [e.g., padding links with information] can be used to pass on attribution information in navigations.”

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Google has developed a new Google Analytics cookie that will be used to capture campaign and conversion data from Safari in a way that corresponds with ITP.

What should you do to prepare?

This new feature will occur in late September 2017. If you haven't linked your Adwords and Google Analytics accounts, we recommend doing so to remove any doubt that could be introduced in the new Adwords statistical modelling. 

A Nimbull Digital Marketing Director can help you prepare for ITP. Reach out with questions any time, we'd love to hear from you.

 

More AI ! Adwords removes "optimize for conversions"

What is happening?
 

The ad-rotation settings you are used to seeing in Adwords below are changing, to make more use of Google's AI algorithm.

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On the 25th of September 2017, there will be three updates to "improve" ad rotation settings:


1.    There will be two ad rotation settings options:


      • "Optimise" will use Google's machine learning technology to deliver ads that prefer best performing ads in your ad group.


     • "Rotate indefinitely" will deliver your low performing ads more evenly with higher performing ads for an indefinite amount of time.


 2. Campaigns will be using Smart Bidding "optimise" regardless of their other ad rotation settings.


 3. Ad rotation settings will be available at the ad group level.

 

How will it effect Adwords campaigns?


Starting 25th of September, "optimise for conversions" and "rotate evenly" will be opted out from the Adwords interface.

 

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There will be some benefits for advertisers:


•    Campaigns using "optimise for clicks", "optimise for conversions" or "rotate evenly" will use only "optimise" instead, which will assist novice users by removing complexity.
•    Campaigns using smart bidding strategies, such as Enhanced CPC, target CPA, or target ROAS bidding strategies, will always be set to “Optimise” their ad rotation, regardless of how they set their ad rotation settings. This is less control, but potentially good for a novice user.
•    Advertisers can also manage new ad-rotation settings at both the campaign and ad-group level.
•    Novice advertisers may see better performance of ads from making this ad-rotation change.


There are also some disadvantages:


•    Advertisers can no longer set ads to "optimise conversions" or "optimise for clicks" explicitly. This taking away of control may hurt advertisers who spent the time to prove "optimise for conversions" or "optimise for clicks" was the best performing mode for their account.

 

Why would Google do this?


The right ad rotation can help you to show your best performing ads to users looking for what you have to provide. However, it’s not always clear which ad-rotation makes the best sense for your business, so Google is simplifying ad rotation to two settings: “optimize” and “rotate indefinitely.”


Google is also trying to simplify Adwords in general, so more people without analytical capabilities can use it and get great results. They may also see an Increase in budgets, as "optimise for conversions" may have reduced clicks (vs optimise for clicks), and therefore it was reducing spend on Google's products like Adwords, GDN and YouTube. Google rarely makes changes that hurt their bottom line!

 

What should you do to prepare?


This new ad-rotation feature will occur automatically starting 25th of September 2017. Make sure your Adwords conversion pixels are firing properly. This will be key. If you are over counting or under counting conversions it may really skew ad rotation in an unexpected way. it’s always best to keep a close eye on your accounts following a change like this! Finally jump right in and start to set ad rotation at an adgroup level, especially where you are launching new copy and want to rotate evenly for a period of time. 

A Nimbull Digital Marketing Director can help you maximise this opportunity. Reach out with questions any time. We'd love to hear from you.

 

3 Key Takeaways from ad:tech Sydney 2017

Countless thought leaders took the stage at ad:tech Sydney 2017 to school us on the latest and greatest, but what were the overall pervading themes?

1) "marketing is pollution" - attention is the new currency.

2) the human attention span has dropped to 8 seconds, lower than a goldfish. Ignore this to your marketing peril.

3) Brands are breaking through the idiom of "right person, right ad, right ad, right product, right time". They are now looking to drive "an unfair share of culture".

Nimbull's session on "Future Tech & Trends Shaping Search" has received some very positive feedback since the conference on Wednesday. We showcased a series of speculative technology including robotics, VR, aerial connectivity, holograms, short wave infra red and more. Most interestingly, for every person excited by emerging tech like this, there is one concerned for privacy, obesity and a range of other societal implications. It fuelled a healthy debate during the Q&A at the end of the presentation.

Here's Nimbull's presentation deck from the day:

Here's some images and video of Michael Verghios, Digital Marketing Director at Nimbull in action!

You're about to over-count conversions! "Converted Clicks going away" for Adwords.

The "converted clicks" column is going away in the Adwords interface. 

Advertisers are advised to work with their Google rep or agency to make necessary changes ASAP. 

It requires systematically going through your Adwords account, to change the counting methodology from "every" to "one" where appropriate, so that the "conversions" column will act as the old "converted clicks" column did. 

"Converted clicks" will disappear from the interface around March 16, so you will need to add in the "conversions" column (and associated metrics columns) on March 16 to get meaningful data.

Here are more details:

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6372468?hl=en&utm_source=awfe&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=notifications&authuser=1

Why would Google do this?

1) decluttering the interface

2) indirectly, Google will also achieve a "perceived" performance boost for many non savvy advertisers. It is unlikely small advertisers will realise this change, therefore may start counting "lead forms submissions" even if they came from the same person twice. 

Spread the word fast and send onto your fellow Adwords users !

The Low Cost Smart Home is About to Explode

You probably know that guy. The one who for years has showed off about having Sonos playing music in every room, and double claps to open his blinds. Even if you haven't been to his house, he'll fill you with stories about a garage door that opens up 2 mins before you arrive. Of course, his main aim in all this is not really a betterment to his life's function, but a trophy to point to when front yard fountains became a home wear faux pas. Achieving these things up until now carried major costs running into the tens of thousands and countless hours of setup. More importantly, it involved putting trust into an ecosystem of products with no strong consumer facing brands.

Enter 2017, and the big players are finally showing their cards. Release schedules have been cautious e.g Amazon has held back releases outside of the US for up to a year after the US release date. With first iterations either recently launching or launching in q2, q3 or q4, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple are now in the race. These companies are already pivotal in our lives - they are our computers, our phones, how we shop, how we play. Home automation releases by these companies demand the consumers time to look, and create FOMO aka every marketers dream, the fear of missing out. With the volume of IOT devices growing exponentially, this supply surge will only bring down the costs of light bulbs, fans (and Internet connected rice cookers!) etc  

So the next time "that guy" tries to tell you his $1100 FIBARO Home Center 2 Controller is so amazing, you can smugly say your Amazon Echo Dot 2 only cost 50 bucks, all the cool kids have one, it learns everyday and will probably do way more very shortly! 

Here's the other hot developments about to take the home automation market AND your home by storm: 

Name: Amazon Echo

US Release Date: June 23, 2015

Available in Australia?: No

The Amazon Echo, a voice-activated home audio speaker system that integrates a personal voice assistant named Alexa with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Consensus online is that it is currently beating Google Home on build quality and overall functionality, but this is expected with over 1 year release in the US.  

Name: Amazon Echo Dot 2

US Release Date: October 20, 2016

Available in Australia?: No

Nicknamed "the hockey puck", The Amzon Echo Dot (2nd Generation) is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information and much more. Its does just about everything the standard ECHO does, but you need to tether it to your home speakers via bluetooth or jack. At only $50, it sure to shake up the market in an absolutely massive way. 

Name: Google Home

US Release Date: November 4, 2016

Available in Australia?: No

Google Home is a Wi-Fi speaker that also works as a smart-home control centre that can be used to playback entertainment throughout your entire house, effortlessly manage every-day tasks and much more. It looks kinda like an air freshener, but lots of people really love it! Its currently in such an early iteration that even commands like "OK GOOGLE, TELL ME MY APPOINTMENTS FOR THE DAY" are not supported (at time of writing), but this will change very fast. Of course, being internet connected, these devices learn and improve seamlessly. Online consensus is that its big strength right now is how "conversational" it is. You can ask it a series of questions, and it has great context by assessing previous ones. Google will be putting massive resource behind this upcoming cash cow, so look out for some amazing features on the horizon.  

Name: Microsoft HomeHub

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US Release Date: Not yet released

Available in Australia?: No

Microsoft is planning to build a HomeHub software which is designed to run on Windows 10 PCs, but can work on any Windows 10 machine. Pen and ink support are also part of the plan. There is some information on windowscentral.com, but its very early days. It describes having a "guest profile" on a home laptop which can be given commands from the lock screen, and have special access features to understand who's calendar they are allowed to read from (could be awkward for any 17 year old hiding a party from their parents!). The major differentiator is that its purely a software play. This is a great advantage as its already in everyone's homes, and people are getting more familiar with CORTANA, the voice assistant. All you need is an internet connected light bulb as a Christmas gift and away you go. Features will be released in Q2, Q3 and Q4 of this year as part of Windows 10 functionality.

Name: Apple HomeKit

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US Release Date: September 17, 2014

Available in Australia?: Yes

Apple HomeKit technology provides an easy and secure way to control HomeKit-enabled devices like the Withings Home Plus using Siri on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Name: LINGLONG DINGDONG

US Release Date:  November 25, 2016

Available in Australia?: No

Here come the Chinese! Don't let is funny name fool you. The LingLong DingDong is the latest smart home voice control to hit the market, with the company promising that it can communicate in various dialects of Chinese.