FOUND | SEO, PPC & Digital Marketing News & Opinion
At Found, we don’t ‘do’ digital marketing, we live and breathe it. It’s in our DNA. From creative content to PPC, PR and SEO, our approach is deeply holistic, using every channel and each moment to optimal effect. Get the latest digital marketing news & opinion. SEO, PPC & Analytics tips & analysis from our experts.
The wins just keep coming for Found! Just last week we added 3 more trophies to the cabinet.
After a staggeringly good year, the agency has seen plenty of growth and excellent results for our clients, exemplified by our Best SEO Professional Services Campaign from The Drum Search Awards and winner of the Best Use of Search from the European Search Awards, amongst a host of others.
Well, the awards kept rolling in and at the UK Search Awards on Thursday, we won both the Best PPC Campaign and the Best use of Search (Retail) alongside our client Bonmarché.
This good news followed an award from earlier in the week, as we learned that our favourite leader and CEO, Tina Judic, was awarded the Marketing Agency Leader of the Year award from The Drum Agency Business Awards. We weren’t surprised, her enthusiasm for all thing’s digital shines through in her work every day.
Christmas has come early here at Found, and with 2019 just around the corner we are looking forward to hitting the ground running in the new year! If you’d like to chat to use about how we can assist your paid media campaigns, connect with us today.
At The Drum Agency Business Awards 2018 (formerly the Drum Network Awards) our very own CEO Tina Judic received the Marketing Agency Leader of the Year award for agencies of up to 100 staff.
Tina’s enthusiasm for all things digital and for the very people who make things happen has driven this agency to where we are today. She feels passionate about clients needing the expertise and experience to command attention in a space where consumers are now the super powers, where online success isn’t just about brands breaking through all the noise but, critically, having the ability to speak to their audiences in an effective and successful manner.
It’s been a stellar year for Found as we’ve seen strong growth, achieved some fantastic results for our clients, acquired White.net and won awards including the Best SEO Professional Services Campaign at The Drum Search Awards and 12th place in the Great Places to Work 2018 rankings (2nd Best Workplace for Women!).
There are many reasons why Tina deserves this accolade but, perhaps most significantly, this year, together with her colleague Julie York and Found, she’s spearheaded, an industry-wide initiative to support and nurture our next generation of digital pioneers which I would like to take this opportunity to highlight.
The Digital Disruptors programme aims to inspire young pioneers to be disruptive and give them a platform they otherwise wouldn’t have had, to seek out the next big thing in digital. Through a series of workshops, mentorships, work placements and a Dragons’ Den-type pitch competition, it encourages young people to investigate digital properly for the first time.
In its first year, the final of Digital Disruptors took to the stage at PI Live. Four (slightly terrified) teams of young people went through to a final, pitching their ideas to a mass audience on the main stage at the big industry event. Leading digital businesses including Snap, Vouchercloud and AWIN, were involved in judging the final and interest for next year’s programme is already looking extremely healthy.
So here’s to Tina, her amazing achievements, and to her vision for building an agency of the future, now, and for it to be one that will help Found’s clients transform and transcend in the digital space.
Here’s a list of some of the less well known Excel formulas and VBA modules that regularly come in handy for keyword marketers. That could be SEOs, PPCs or anyone who works with large spreadsheets containing keywords and associated data like search volume, CPC & categories. Think of it as an excel cheat sheet for marketers.
Get domain from URL:
Remove first 3 characters from cell:
Remove last 1 character from a cell:
Label keywords based on any identifying words (strings) they contain:
Put your keywords into numbered batches for pulling seasonal search volume data:
To save you having to count out 2,500 keywords each time. This batches them up so you just have to filter for the batch number, ctrl A, ctrl C, ctrl V.
43 is the number of keywords in your list divided by 2500, which is the keyword planner limit
Use the blank row insertion macro to make the batches easily selectable
Word order flipper:
Excel is not built for string parsing and manipulation, but if you have to do it in Excel you can try this. Turns ‘dresses white wedding’ into ‘white wedding dresses’. Use it in steps inside itself to further rearrange words in a different order.
Find the maximum numerical value in a row range, and return the column header:
Useful for when you need to know which month has the highest search volume (a2:f2 = the values, a1:f1 = the headers)
Find position of nth occurrence of character in a cell:
EXCEL VBA MODULES
To use these:
Save your workbook as .xlsm
Reopen it and hit alt + f11
In the menu, insert > module
Paste in the code
Press the play button
There’s no need to understand the code. But be careful to save a backup copy of your workbook before running any of these – they can’t be undone with ctrl + z!
Convert all non-clickable URLs in your spreadsheet to clickable hyperlinks:
So you can visit the URLs easily if you need to e.g. for optimisation of a lot of pages, so you don’t have to mess about double clicking each one to get it ready.
For Each xCell In Selection
ActiveSheet.Hyperlinks.Add Anchor:=xCell, Address:=xCell.Formula
Conditional formatting by row value:
So the colour intensity is relative to each row only, rather than the entire range. You need to use this to complete the search landscape document seasonality tab.
For Each r In Selection.Rows
Application.CutCopyMode = False
Remove duplicates individually by column:
If you have a lot of columns, each of which needs duplicates removing individually e.g. if you have a series of category taxonomies to clean – you can’t do this from the menu:
Dim col As Range
For Each col In Range("A:Z").Columns
.RemoveDuplicates Columns:=1, Header:=xlYes
Merge adjacent cells in a range based on identical value:
To save you doing it individually when you need to make a spreadsheet look good:
Dim Rng As Range, xCell As Range
Dim xRows As Integer
xTitleId = "KutoolsforExcel"
Set WorkRng = Application.Selection
Set WorkRng = Application.InputBox("Range", xTitleId, WorkRng.Address, Type:=8)
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Application.DisplayAlerts = False
xRows = WorkRng.Rows.Count
For Each Rng In WorkRng.Columns
For i = 1 To xRows - 1
For j = i + 1 To xRows
If Rng.Cells(i, 1).Value <> Rng.Cells(j, 1).Value Then
WorkRng.Parent.Range(Rng.Cells(i, 1), Rng.Cells(j - 1, 1)).Merge
i = j - 1
Application.DisplayAlerts = True
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Remove all instances of any text between and including 2 characters from a cell (in this example, the < and >):
Especially good for removing HTML tags from screaming frog extractions, kind of a stand in for regex.
Public Function DELBRC(ByVal str As String) As String
While InStr(str, "<") > 0 And InStr(str, ">") > InStr(str, "<")
str = Left(str, InStr(str, "<") - 1) & Mid(str, InStr(str, ">") + 1)
DELBRC = Trim(str)
Highlight mis-spelled words:
This can help you identify garbled / nonsense keywords from a large set, or just to spellcheck in Excel if you need to.
For Each cell In ActiveSheet.UsedRange
If Not Application.CheckSpelling(Word:=cell.Text) Then cell.Interior.ColorIndex = 3
Slice’n dice – Split delimited values in a cell into multiple rows with key column retained:
It’s easy to put a delimited string (Keyword,Volume,CPC…) into columns using text-to-columns but what if you want it split vertically instead, into rows? This can help:
Dim objRegex As Object
Dim lngRow As Long
Dim lngCnt As Long
Dim tempArr() As String
Set objRegex = CreateObject("vbscript.regexp")
objRegex.Pattern = "^\s+(.+?)$"
'Define the range to be analysed
X = Range([a1], Cells(Rows.Count, "b").End(xlUp)).Value2
ReDim Y(1 To 2, 1 To 1000)
For lngRow = 1 To UBound(X, 1)
'Split each string by ","
tempArr = Split(X(lngRow, 2), ",")
For Each strArr In tempArr
lngCnt = lngCnt + 1
'Add another 1000 records to resorted array every 1000 records
If lngCnt Mod 1000 = 0 Then ReDim Preserve Y(1 To 2, 1 To lngCnt + 1000)
Y(1, lngCnt) = X(lngRow, 1)
Y(2, lngCnt) = objRegex.Replace(strArr, "$1")
'Dump the re-ordered range to columns C:D
[c1].Resize(lngCnt, 2).Value2 = Application.Transpose(Y)
Make multiple copies of a worksheet at once:
If you are making a reporting template for example, and want to get the sheets for all 12 weeks created in one go:
ThisWS = "name-of-existing-worksheet"
'# of new sheets
s = 6
'# of new sheets
For i = 2 To s
ActiveSheet.Name = ThisWS & i
Add a specific number of new rows based on cell value:
Saves repeatedly using insert row, pressing F4 etc:
On Error Resume Next
For r = Cells(Rows.Count, "E").End(xlUp).Row To 2 Step -1
For rw = 2 To Cells(r, "E").Value + 1
Cells(r + 1, "E").EntireRow.Insert
Next rw, r
This one’s great when you have lots of columns of information that you want to be combined all into one master column:
Dim Range1 As Range, Range2 As Range, Rng As Range
Dim rowIndex As Integer
xTitleId = "KutoolsforExcel"
Set Range1 = Application.Selection
Set Range1 = Application.InputBox("Source Ranges:", xTitleId, Range1.Address, Type:=8)
Set Range2 = Application.InputBox("Convert to (single cell):", xTitleId, Type:=8)
rowIndex = 0
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
For Each Rng In Range1.Rows
Range2.Offset(rowIndex, 0).PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteAll, Transpose:=True
rowIndex = rowIndex + Rng.Columns.Count
Application.CutCopyMode = False
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Superfast find and replace for huge datasets:
To match partial cell, change to ‘X1Part”.
Application.EnableEvents = False
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Application.Calculation = xlCalculationManual
' fill your range in here
' choose what to search for and what to replace with here
Selection.Replace What:="0", Replacement:="/", LookAt:=xlWhole, SearchOrder:=xlByRows, MatchCase:=False, SearchFormat:=False, ReplaceFormat:=False
Application.EnableEvents = True
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Application.Calculation = xlCalculationAutomatic
Paste all cells as values in a worksheet in the active range:
For when your spreadsheet is too slow to do it manually
.Value = .Value
Format all cells to general format or whatever you like, without having to select them:
Another good one for when your spreadsheet is too slow.
ActiveSheet.Cells.NumberFormat = "General"
Formula activation – Insert equals at the beginning for a range of cells:
If you’re making something complex with a lot of formulas that you don’t want switched on yet, but you want to be able to use other formulas at the same time (i.e. can’t turn off calculations) this can help. It’s also good for just adding things to the start of cells:
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Dim cell As Range
For Each cell In Selection
cell.Formula = "=" & cell.Value
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Consolidate all worksheets from multiple workbooks in a folder on your computer into a single workbook with all the worksheets added into it:
If you have a big collection of workbooks which you want consolidated into one, you can do it in a single step using this macro. Especially good for when the workbooks you need to consolidate are big and slow.
Dim Path As String
Dim FileName As String
Dim Wkb As Workbook
Dim WS As Worksheet
Application.EnableEvents = False
Application.ScreenUpdating = False
Path = "C:\scu" 'Change as needed
FileName = Dir(Path & "\*.xl*", vbNormal)
Do Until FileName = ""
Set Wkb = Workbooks.Open(FileName:=Path & "\" & FileName)
For Each WS In Wkb.Worksheets
FileName = Dir()
Application.EnableEvents = True
Application.ScreenUpdating = True
Fast deletion of named columns in a spreadsheet which is responding slowly:
Sometimes, one does not simply ‘delete a column’. This is for those times.
Dim FindString As String
Dim iCol As Long, LastCol As Long, FirstCol As Long
Dim CalcMode As Long
CalcMode = .Calculation
.Calculation = xlCalculationManual
.ScreenUpdating = False
FirstCol = 1
.DisplayPageBreaks = False
LastCol = .Cells(3, Columns.Count).End(xlToLeft).Column
For iCol = LastCol To FirstCol Step -1
If IsError(.Cells(3, iCol).Value) Then
'This avoids an error if there is a error in the cell
ElseIf .Cells(3, iCol).Value = "Value B" Then
ElseIf .Cells(3, iCol).Value = "Value C" Then
.ScreenUpdating = True
.Calculation = CalcMode
Find and replace based on a table in another worksheet:
Use X1Part for string match & replace within a cell, or X1 whole for whole cell match & replace:
Dim rngData As Range
Dim rngLookup As Range
Dim Lookup As Range
Set rngData = .Range("A1", .Range("A" & Rows.Count).End(xlUp))
Set rngLookup = .Range("A1", .Range("A" & Rows.Count).End(xlUp))
For Each Lookup In rngLookup
If Lookup.Value <> "" Then
rngData.Replace What:=Lookup.Value, _
Replacement:=Lookup.Offset(0, 1).Value, _
If you have a slow spreadsheet that’s locked up Excel while it;s calculating, but you still need to use Excel for other stuff, you can open a completely new instance of Excel by holding Alt, clicking Excel in the taskbar, and answering ‘yes’ to the pop up box. This isn’t just a new worksheet – it’s a totally new instance of Excel.
To open a new workbook in the same instance of Excel a bit more quickly than usual when you already have workbooks open, you can use a single middle mouse click on Excel in the taskbar.
We’ve written some other blog posts about excel, you can find them here:
There’s a new gang on the SEO block – or, to put it more accurately, a new cluster. The term ‘keyword cluster’ is self-explanatory: take related keywords and position them in groups to match the distinct aspects of the topics they are aimed at.
Think about it like this: “what is X’, ‘how to find X’,‘how to find cheap X’, ‘compare X quotes’, ‘best X’, ‘best X europe’ etc – not forgetting the core topic of straight-up ‘X’ itself.
Search Is Changing
Users are changing their search behaviour, so it makes sense for search engines like Google to alter their algorithm to favour topic-based content. Gone are the days of consumers awkwardly patching together relevant terms for their search. Most users are now comfortable with the notion of intelligent machines, and so treat them as such, posing complex questions in the same way that they might with a human interlocutor – “how old is Barack Obama?” rather than “Barack Obama age”. And since algorithms are now developed enough to understand search intent to a greater degree than ever before, it makes sense to arrange content in interlinked themed groups.
Ringing the keyword changes (even if they’re all the rage) can be a relatively lengthy process, so is it worth it? A number of studies have found that the more thoroughly interlinked content was, the better that site ranked in search engine results pages (SERPs).
And it’s understandable that a closely knitted selection of good quality content builds authority and influence in the eyes of the search engine and its users – intensifying the depth of your content helps to establish expertise. You’ll also find that performance for the pages that make up the cluster begin to align with their counterparts, pulling each other up the rankings chart and owning multiple SERP positions for a single keyword. So, although they do mean overhauling the structure of your approach, keyword clusters present a chance to boost your reach and develop your content strategy.
Structuring Your Keyword Cluster
The most effective and straightforward way to go about structuring your keyword cluster is to identify a common word, and identify all the relevant phrases that incorporate that word using an Excel spreadsheet. This formula is particularly handy:
Where the value in column K is the text string in the keyword to search for, and the value in column L is the label to apply in the cell containing this formula when the text string is found.
Remember to arrange your text strings with the most common strings at the top of the list e.g. insurance, and the more topically distinct ones at the bottom e.g. commercial owners, so the keyword ‘commercial owners insurance’ would be tagged with ‘commercial owners’ rather than ‘insurance’.
From there, you’re likely to find associated groups, and so on.
If you started with the phrase “exercise routines for women”, for example, you’d string together phrases such as: “Exercise routines for women”, “Women’s home exercise routine”, and “30-day exercise challenge for women” – to name a few.
You’ll want a minimum of three subtopics clustered around the core subject, but the more the better, and listing your topics in an Excel sheet can help you play around with combinations. You’ll find a number of fairly comprehensive tutorials online.
It’s helpful to think of the clusters as grouping around a central ‘pillar’ of content, which covers a broader subject which the keywords in the sub-clusters are related. It’s a good idea to select and match your content from the perspective of the user, so that you’re creating a cluster that’s in line with possible search intents.
Keyword clusters can be taken to their full, ingenious potential when you ensure they constantly evolve, attaching fresh content to the core topics and catering for changing and further reaching searches in so doing. There are plenty of tactics to explore when it comes to grouping keywords, and it’s worth test driving the various options before deciding on a methodology that works for you and your content. But the bottom line is that you’ll end up diversifying your rankings and creating a genuinely useful resource for consumers if you do it right.
If you would like to see how we can use search clusters to better improve your SEO, get in touch – we would love to help you!
When people think about content and advertising campaigns they think of creative. In reality, great marketing is a blend of both creativity and data, so much so that we say that creativity starts with data. It helps frame your thinking on a problem and find out whether your content is going to connect with your audience, as well as how data can guide the content creation process. Data gives you context but it can also be the core of creative.
Data really isn’t just about the numbers. While many creatives are a little wary — or downright skeptical — about data, it’s crucial for a business to encourage its marketing team and creatives to explore how data can provide inspiration, rather than limitations. When a business starts to understand its audience, all marketing efforts start to come together – it just involves a little thinking outside the box, but in the end, it’s worth it.
The best way to engage and entertain an audience is through the age-old method of storytelling. Data helps to write that story – it unfolds the plot and builds a fact-based worldview with the potential to persuade your audience of anything.
The relationship between data and creativity is an area that brands should always nurture – here’s how.
The Way We Use Creativity Is Constantly Evolving
In so many businesses, creativity is often shifted to one side. Creativity is what the creatives do — and they do it over there. But creativity now has a leading role in many business processes. It’s about speaking to customers in new and innovative ways — so marketing and data need to be treated like two equally important sides of the same coin. Data listens, and creativity speaks.
McKinsey & Company have spent a lot of time and money studying the impact of creativity in the workplace — and for good reason too. They created an Award Creativity Score (ACS) to look at how different companies with different levels of creative thinking fared. Their findings were fascinating, but boiled down this: more creative companies have better results, more value, and much more growth. They found that including room for creativity in every step of the business process and engaging in more interdisciplinary and cross-department work can make a huge difference.
In fact, in a huge survey of companies, they saw that in more creative companies, 67% had above-average organic revenue growth and 70% had an above-average total return to shareholders.
How did they do it? Well, McKinsey found that it all starts with the right mindset. Inject creativity into the ethos of your company and watch the benefits roll in. This isn’t just some nebulous idea, it’s about how to spend resources in the right way – we’re talking time and money. Giving employees the time to brainstorm is one thing, but if you look at what the top firms are doing, you’ll see that they spend 2.5 times more on their marketing than their industry peers. So, putting your resources into the creative processes really pays off, especially when those creatives are armed with data.
Good data analysis has the power to yield hidden gems from your data that challenge everything you thought you knew. Digging out these unexpected insights help creatives think about the world in ways they could not have imagined since it has the power to flip the truths they take for granted. This can give creatives a huge edge over their clan.
More Information Is Never A Bad Thing
Data comes with the bad reputation of making some creatives feel boxed in, but it’s about time we changed that narrative. The truth is, more information is never bad and it’s the foundation from which you can grow – as a person and as a business. And when it comes to the creative teams, learning about the customers they’re marketing to should be looked at as adding strength to the great work their doing.
If you look at the top brands out there you’ll see that they are completely customer-oriented. They spend time learning as much as possible about their consumers and observe them in their own environment to gain insight and understand that can help in their digital marketing decisions. For example, it benefits your creative teams to know that your customers prefer sustainable companies or innovative thinking — because those values can be highlighted in your marketing campaigns. Yes, data isn’t always the sexiest topic in the world, but the truth is, it’s a great way to understand mindsets and habits. These findings should become fuel for creative thinking, rather than a limitation on it.
There’s a reason that Cannes launched its Creative Data Lions category — the two go hand in hand. Categories Like Data Driven Targeting and Data Storytelling show just how linked the two can be when you let them.
Strategy Is Inherently Creative
If you’re talking about the merge of data and creativity, it would be naive to ignore skepticism towards data and the tension that can exist between strategies and creativity. While there may be a habitual wariness, brands need to be able to combat that and completely rewrite the dynamic. The most exciting projects often come out of cross-departmental work. In science, there’s a well-known phenomenon called “The Edge Effect”, which is when two different ecological areas meet — and right along the edge between the two is where the newest life is created and interesting things can flourish. But merging data with creativity doesn’t end with science. In fact, the movement has permeated art, where even Yo-Yo Ma is trying to recreate this phenomenon in music. And it can help you too, regardless of your industry. As McKinsey found, by getting your teams to work together, some exciting discoveries can be made when data and creativity come together.
Look at how your teams can bond and understand each other. Remind them that strategy and data are essentially creative — they’re about new and innovative ways to understand the customer — which is exactly what marketing is trying to do. So have your teams focus on what they have in common — the customer — and build on from there.
Creativity Is All About Creating Space, Fast
McKinsey found that one of the main benefits generated by creativity was speed. Firms that scored highest in creativity were ahead of the competition in part because they moved faster — in fact, 74% said they had to make decisions fast at some points, compared to only 40% of less successful firms. Incorporating creativity in all the nooks and crannies of your business creates space for innovative thinking, on-the-spot decisions and everything that you need to keep your brand ahead of the curve.
Data and creativity are two sides of the same coin – they’re simply two different kinds of problem-solving. A.I. is already doing creative things in basic ways, which means that it’s using data to be creative. Basically, throw enough intelligence at a technology and it can be creative. While data can seem scary to a creative, creativity can seem unapproachable to data experts. There’s nothing special about our brains as far as creativity is concerned. We’ll see it in A.I. systems as they become more intelligent in years to come, for the single reason that they consume so much data.
That’s why no matter how creative you are, more information is always better. Data helps you listen to your customer and creatives help you speak to your customer. It’s the perfect marriage and there’s no reason to keep them apart.
If you’d like to see how creative thinking and data can perform wonders for your brand, get in touch – we’d be happy to help.
If you haven’t been using Google’s Smart display campaigns in your marketing efforts, you’ve been missing out.
The Google Display Network links popular news websites, gaming apps and every other platform under the sun with advertisers so that vendors can target the spaces online where prospective customers might be playing, reading, watching and eventually buying.
And with the introduction of machine learning, and Google’s Smart display campaigns, it’s been a game changer ever since. This new world order put machine learning to work on display campaigns by finding relevant audiences, helping with the creative content and setting the right bids to meet your performance guides. All on its own.
This kind of automation is unique to Google and claims to deliver “richer experiences to consumers” and “better results for your brand”. Google claims that advertisers who use Smart display campaigns see on average a 20% increase in conversions at the same Cost Per Action compared with other display campaigns that they use.
Hotel search platform trivago’s use of the technology is cited as a case study. The brand used the programme for creative assets, putting together headlines, descriptions, images of desirable locations with its logo. Adwords did the rest of the work, and the combined efforts led to trivago driving 36% more conversions at the same CPA. It’s now in use for campaigns in trivago’s European, Asian and North American markets.
Essentially we’re talking across-the-board automation for display campaigns: handling bidding, targeting, and creatives so that you don’t have to draw up extensive audience lists or tweak, re-size and re-format your creative content for each display.
The targeting is driven by a combination of display keywords, remarketing, placements, topics, in-market audiences and similar audiences. The algorithm examines unique data signals in order to shift bids on your behalf, depending on how well each targeting type is performing.
And you’ll also still receive the kind of reports you’ve come to expect, ranking your creative assets based on the conversions they drive compared to each other. Bear in mind that some may take a little time to ‘learn’ where to position themselves for decent ratings.
So we’re sorted, right? Machine learning has taken over and we can kick back, watch as Smart display handles business and possibly book some time off?
Although Smart display campaigns will help save time, money and energy, we’ll still need our old friend ‘regular’. It remains possible that you’ll want to manually control elements of your campaign, so in these instances don’t be afraid to stand down the robot and do it yourself.
Closer control of creatives
It’s all very well having Google handle things for you, but it’s entirely possible that you want to tweak and finesse layouts, colours and fonts yourself. Regular display campaigns give you that agency.
The turn of the seasons
If there are stretches of time (holidays, for example, or ‘summer sales’ and so on) where you want to alter your budget quickly, manual bidding is the one for you.
Smart display campaigns won’t measure conversions through AdWords. You need at least 50 display conversions or 100 search conversions in the last 30 days.
High art audience curation
If you want to build very finely segmented lists of audiences, you can do that manually with regular campaigns. Admittedly, though, you can maintain campaigns targeting your existing lists while also trying out Smart campaigns at the same time.
And our top tips for maximising the impact of Smart campaigns as and when you do use them?
Always experiment. Play around with drafts and CPA targets (but keep them at 20% or less to allow the algorithm to adjust).
Give your account time to adjust to new goals more measuring success.
Provide as many assets as you can to facilitate ad copy testing at scale.
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Smart display campaigns have changed our approach to digital marketing. And there’s definitely still room for the charms of regular campaigns, but you’ll want to use the two options in combination – that’s when you’ll hit new productivity highs.
There’s no point beating about the bush – nowadays, we live in touch-point central.
Gone is the era of last click attribution. The customer journey has, over the years, become more and more complicated, and Salesforce now reckons it takes six to eight touches to establish a fertile sales lead. Furthermore, 60% of the sales cycle is believed to be over before a buyer talks to your salesperson.
Plus, as the customer journey extends in one direction, it’s also spreading itself across multiple platforms. Most digital marketers are deploying a range of content, running several campaigns and targeting potential buyers from numerous angles. So measuring the ROI on your various channels becomes a bigger and trickier task. How much of a contribution are your SEO efforts making? What kind of impact did your Twitter ad click have? What about your AdWords retargeting campaign? And if more conversions are coming from PPC, should you bin your social media efforts altogether?
It can feel like a scary (and apparently never-ending) set of questions, but luckily for all of us, there are answers out there. The answers aren’t too hard to find, either, but if you want access you’ll have to embrace the multi-touch attribution marketing model – it’s this approach that allows you to manage, optimise and scale your campaign performance.
Allocating accurate value to each of your marketing touchpoints is crucial for monitoring and adjusting your ROI on each channel, giving you the chance to make your spending as efficient as possible.
If you’re reluctant to trust blindly in models which might incorrectly attribute credit and consequently encourage you to wind down channels which are in actual fact high performing, your concerns are fair. There are plenty of models out there, and the pitfalls could potentially be numerous.
The most frequently used models are as follows:
First/Last Click, which assigns 100% of the credit to the touchpoint in action just before conversion. It’s conveniently simple, but not necessarily accurate.
Linear, which splits attribution evenly between all the touchpoints that play a role in conversion.
Time Decay, which credits touchpoints according to how close in time they are to conversion.
Position Based, which gives 40% of the credit to the first and last touchpoints involved in conversion, and then distributes attribution between the touchpoints that were active in between.
There’s also a new, more sophisticated data-driven attribution model available, which is Google’s recommendation. It’s more complicated to use, but rather than working on a rules-based system, data-driven models use machine learning to ramp up the accuracy with which they allocate credit.
Before the complexity of the data-driven model becomes standard-issue for all, though, digital marketers have a choice to make. Luckily, there’s a reliable set of tools and tricks to help you avoid the rookie errors and select the perfect model for your business.
Here’s our take on the key factors to consider…
Map your customer’s journey
Create a detailed and comprehensive sketch of touchpoints and channels with potential buyers. Where do they interact with you during the buying cycle? Are there touchpoints that you’d to develop or add? Do you understand customers’ responses to each point of contact?
See the big picture
The model you choose should provide a satisfactory answer to the executive question: if you reign in spending or stop it all together, will revenue suffer and will individual components of the operation experience a drop in performance, too?
Look at your leads
Work out the rates at which leads become paying customers and/or active users.
What’s your goal?
It’s critical that while choosing a model, you’re led by your fundamental objective. Be it branding, limited-time promotion or anything else, different kinds of campaigns can suit different models, so don’t forget your overarching aim.
Review and revise
Unfortunately, the model selection process is never fully complete. It’s important that you commit to regular testing and iterating. You might need to optimise your model, or further down the line switch it up completely.
It’s a good idea to start with a simple model, and experts encourage marketers to give their first selection a decent innings. But if you take your time choosing, monitor progress carefully, and take decisive action if eventually, you think the changes should be rung; you shouldn’t go too far wrong.
Changes to Facebook’s news feed were announced in early 2018. The update placed a new emphasis on status updates from friends and family, with a view to fostering a focus on personal networks, and reducing news feed dominance from articles and branded content. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, referred to the initiative as aiming to cultivate “meaningful interaction” – an effort to make Facebook more of a force for good.
A ‘friends and family’ feel has characterised the new feed in a bid to ensure Facebook’s services “aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well being”. The changes have already affected all two billion Facebook users’ feeds and public content from businesses; brands and media have been featuring less prominently ever since. The announcement was featured in a blog post from Adam Mosseri (who heads the company’s News Feed) entitled “Bringing People Closer Together”.
It’s hardly surprising that Facebook has been working hard at projecting a benign image following a difficult year at the centre of fake news debates and links with Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election – but what has it meant for brands who build digital marketing campaigns around Facebook’s news feed?
Well, for starters, major adjustments like this had been in the pipeline for quite a while. And if you’re a marketer who depends on Facebook for advertising and brand promotion, you probably know that big changes like these mean focusing on a fresh approach to your strategy.
Mosseri’s blog was fairly blunt about the effects these changes have had on public pages, saying that they may have seen their “reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease”. Apparently, the impact has “varied from page to page, driven by factors including the type of content produced and how people interact with it. Pages that had been creating posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could have seen the biggest decreases in distribution.”
It seems that these changes have also started costing people their jobs, 100 jobs to be exact. At least that was the case for lifestyle site Little Things, where after the changes to Facebook’s news feed algorithms, their business was “decimated”. In fact, Joe Spieser, the website’s CEO, claimed that 75% of Little Things’ organic traffic had been wiped out, resulting in a massive hit to its income.
Understandably, pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will have been less readily penalised, which is perhaps an indicator that marketers should consider devising conversation-driving strategies. It certainly presents an opportunity to look back through Mosseri and Zuckerbergs’ statements for clues as to the kind of methods that will help maintain businesses’ reach and engagement moving forward.
So, what can you do to keep up with the changes so far down the line since they launched?
Keep your followers in the know – If you haven’t done it already, you should consider reaching out to the people who follow your page and explain what’s going on. Encourage them to list you in their News Feed Preferences so they continue to see your content. You could also try making a video to lay out the changes in graphic form, and see whether it generates engagement in the comments below.
Start a conversation – Live videos, for example, average six times as many interactions as normal videos – have a think about fresh takes on traditionally engaging content, and start working on a new strategy to include this in your marketing efforts.
Invest – It’s about time you’ve found some room in your budget for paid media, perhaps even in the short term. While you’ve been acclimatising to the changes and finding ways to make them work for your brand, your organic media could have been suffering the whole time. Invest in keeping your reach at a steady level, even if it’s only a small amount each day.
Stick to your guns – Don’t betray your brand in a bid to attract interactions by using “engagement bait”. Stay authentic, and remember that the News Feed changes have been all about encouraging meaningful content. Poor quality or sensationalist bids for attention really aren’t worth the time and effort.
These updates have undoubtedly presented challenges for brands and businesses, but they’ve also been part of Facebook’s ongoing evolution. There have been plenty of viable marketing solutions to changes in the past, and there will be plenty more in the future.
If you’re stuck for ideas on how to overcome these Facebook feed changes, we’re here to offer our advice. Don’t hesitate to get in touch, we’ll definitely be able to help.
SEO campaigns have multiple options of keyword focus. Whether you provide insurance policies or greetings cards, you need to make important campaign choices. For example, should you focus more on commercial owners insurance keywords or professional indemnity keywords? Birthday cards for Mum or birthday cards for Dad? Which of these keyword clusters should you prioritise in your campaign and which should you put on the backburner or even ignore entirely? Getting the answer right could see you attaining the summit of ROI. Getting it wrong could send you on an expedition up a mountain that isn’t worth climbing.
In this post, we explore why it can seem difficult to know which mountain to climb, and outline a spreadsheet-based method to help you find your campaign’s Kilimanjaros – the mountains of keyword intent which represent the best ROI for your campaign.
Why SEO Campaign prioritisation comes first
When the aim of the campaign is to maximise performance within a given budget, each option of focus naturally needs to be ranked by net potential gain to determine which ones matter more in relation to the aim and which ones matter less or not at all.
Areas which won’t yield a net KPI gain in response to the application of campaign budget are irrelevant to the ultimate campaign aim thus defined and should be removed from consideration in relation to that aim, freeing up more focus to put to better use in approaching it.
But it’s not immediately obvious where the biggest net gains in response to SEO campaign activity will come from, because the rules of the system in which pages compete for prominence in organic search are manifold & complex.
SEO campaign targeting is the process by which the hierarchy of the areas of greatest net gain can be made evident despite this complexity.
The product of this pruning process is a list of ranked survivors, the areas most relevant to the achievement of the aim – those that will yield the biggest KPI improvements per unit of budget. The assignment of campaign budget & strategic focus in accordance with this prioritisation is the foundation of a maximally successful SEO campaign.
Search is Mountainous
The campaign targeting process begins with the act of seeing the search landscape. It can’t be seen directly because it’s made up of abstractions, but its features can be discerned indirectly through the use of tools. Like a real landscape, it has mountains, only they’re made of intent-clustered amalgams of keyword SERPs rather than gneiss & granite. The higher the mountain, the greater the commercial reward of nearing its summit. Some are little more than hills. Others are majestic peaks.
The Tibetan plateau, seen from altitude.
A representational model is constructed to record what matters about the landscape in relation to the campaign aim – the search landscape document. Like a map of a mountain range, it’s a representation of the features of landscape which may be relevant and it’s something which can be returned to conveniently throughout the campaign.
A map depicting the Himalaya & Tibet, from Joseph Hooker’s Himalayan Journals – 1854
If you have an established site, you are already sending expeditions of varying levels of proficiency up many of these mountains. Some of your expeditions (pages) have shown natural flair and are already part way up the mountain or even near the summit.
But some of your expedition teams have stalled, and you naturally want to know why.
K2, Karakoram Range, Pakistan. The red circle highlights the Serac, a dangerous ice fall marking the gateway to the summit. It’s a common sticking point for expedition teams.
A. Overstretched supply lines – a link equity problem.
At 8.6 km high, K2 is the world’s second-highest peak and is widely regarded as the most difficult of all mountains. Before it was first summitted, a valiant American expedition led by Charles Houston in 1938 got tantalisingly close, reaching 8km – that’s 93% of the way to the top – before stalling because the food supply lines weren’t sufficient. The peak wasn’t climbed until 16 years later.
Himalayan climbing expeditions like this rely on teams of porters to transport food and oxygen from base camp to the camps along the route to the summit. These supply lines keep the expedition going. The longer and harder the route, the better the supply lines need to be.
If your expedition team has stalled high up on a treacherous peak, chances are good that the supply of link equity is insufficient to keep the expedition going.
B. Missing equipment – a technical problem.
The approach to camp 2 of K2’s Abruzzi route requires successful traversing of the House Chimney, a 100’ shoulder-width icy crack in a vertical rock wall. Moving higher isn’t possible without specialist equipment.
If the way your page is set up means that Google can’t access some of the key content on your page properly, it can’t effectively promote your content in its results, and your page hits an impassable barrier despite all the other good things it has going for it.
C (i). The expedition is lost – a relevance problem.
There’s a limited number of precisely defined ways the cluster summit can be approached because Google’s interpretation of the intent behind the multiple search terms for that cluster includes only a few content types which it deems to properly answer that intent.
The route of Charles Houston’s 1953 expedition along the Abruzzi spur, frequently cited as the easiest route but by no means easy.
One cluster might reward commercial product pages as the primary content form and short, snappy how-to guides as secondary form. Another might reward long form thought leadership pieces and detailed B2B commercial explainers. One of these routes is generally most cost-effective for reaching the summit of each cluster.
If your expedition team don’t know what the most cost-effective route is, and they don’t have a precisely defined map for it, they will get lost on the mountain and not approach the summit. And the more precisely they know the route, the faster they’ll approach the summit.
C (ii). They’re arguing – another relevance problem.
The first serious attempt on K2 was made by Oscar Eckenstein and Aleister Crowley in 1902. Eckenstein was a famous climber who invented the modern crampon, and Crowley was later to become famed as an occultist with a dark reputation. The expedition was well supplied, with over 200 porters being drafted in to carry, among other things, Crowley’s vast collection of poetry books.
The 1902 K2 expedition with Aleister Crowley 4th from the left.
The expedition made 5 attempts and the best of them reached 6.5km, 76% of the way to the top. There was disagreement within the expedition team over which route to take. Crowley favoured what would later be known as the Abruzzi route along the south-east ridge, widely regarded as the safest bet today. But the Austrian contingent of the expedition favoured the North-East ridge, and this difference of opinion developed into an internal fight to which the ultimate failure of the expedition has been credited.
When the motive force behind an expedition to the top of a cluster is divided between 2 or more pages without a clear dominant page to end the conflict, neither page has the expedition’s full force behind its ascent. And even if there is a dominant page, weaker dissenting pages still impede its progress to the top.
Which of these problems does your expedition have?
Uncovering the specific combination of the above 4 problems which is impeding progression within a cluster has a not inconsiderable cost. That means it can’t be done for all clusters. The brave expedition teams on the heights are far from base camp, and while their dots can just about be made out with binoculars, a powerful telescope needs to be used if an accurate diagnosis of why they’ve stopped is desired. To look in detail and find out whether it really is a lack of links vs the competition, or whether key relevance indicators are absent from an otherwise serviceable page, or a bit of both, is an intensive act of further seeing, analysis & insight generation.
This is because, for many valuable keyword clusters, uncovering the specific actions that will be required to improve performance is complex. There are many variables and the role of natural language increases as the particulars of page content come under scrutiny, something which AI currently can’t handle well enough to be relied upon alone. An expert is needed to manage the use of powerful SEO tools, unpack the approaches of successful competitors & make the right judgement calls.
That’s expensive because the good tools aren’t free and few know how to use them properly. So it’s doubly important that this high-resolution analysis for insight into the best value actions for an individual cluster is itself prioritised effectively among all the clusters based on net gain, well before any activation of tactics to actually improve performance takes place. The alternative is a squandering of campaign resource.
Campaign targeting is at the core of the profitable application of the 3 dimensions of SEO – accessibility (technical), relevance (content relevance), credibility (links). The analytic & tactical application of each dimension needs to be carefully aimed at the right keyword clusters to make the best use of campaign budget.
Making The Best Use Of Resource: SEO Campaign Targeting With Spreadsheet-Based Narrow AI
The key elements of a keyword cluster and its relationship with a domain are numerically expressible. They manifest as a set of 3 consistently recognisable characteristics and thus lend themselves well to computational processing, and this can all be done in a spreadsheet.
The following narrow AI approach leverages this amenability in order to instantly rank keyword clusters for SEO campaigns by net gain along 4 strategic dimensions:
Gap – The new pages you should make, in the order you should make them.
Fix – The cannibalisation you should fix, in the order you should fix it.
Defend – The top-ranking clusters you should defend, in the order you should defend them.
Boost – The clusters you should boost, in the order you should boost them.
Here’s the general idea
The 3 Cluster characteristics:
What’s the price of a Google helicopter ticket to the cluster summit? The more frequently the keywords in a cluster are searched, and the more advertisers are willing to spend to capture those searches, the greater the monetary value of standing atop the cluster.
Facts on the principal mountains of the globe – Fichier, 1825
How it’s calculated:
Search volume – More searches = more potential customers and brand awareness. We calculate how many organic clicks are up for grabs based on SERP click-through-rate studies. This can be refined with Google Search Console CTR data if you have the time.
Click value – Ever since ‘not provided’, suggested CPC data has been commonly used to estimate conversion value for a click because the more advertisers tend to be willing to pay over a long time period, the higher the likelihood that they’re doing so because of success they experienced in driving conversions from the search term that drove the click. If you already have true average CPC data from a PPC campaign, that’s an even better measure to use.
Combining 1 & 2 into a single metric – What would we need to pay Google to capture those clicks? Roughly speaking, this is calculated by multiplying opportunity traffic and CPC to give us Media Value. The final step is to subtract the captured media value (the value of the clicks the page currently gets) from the total media value to give us Uncaptured Media Value – the final value metric that shows us what’s up for grabs.
In cases where eCommerce revenue data by page is available and the site is established, it would be better to determine value using that data. Any relevant information you have access to can be used to calculate the monetary value to the best of your knowledge.
Client involvement is critical
Any list of clusters based on a survey of the search landscape should be collaborated upon at some level by the client because there are usually variations in the profitability of clusters which aren’t obvious from the search investigation.
A handy client scoresheet is all that’s needed to completely align the calculation of the priorities with the nuances of the client’s evolving business priorities.
Each cluster is marked with a number, 1 by default. It’s a simple multiplier. Clusters which have become irrelevant due to recent changes within the business can be marked with zero, which multiplies the value score by zero, thereby removing it from the eventual priority list. Concurrently, clusters which are particular business priorities for reasons which couldn’t be picked up by the search investigation can be marked with any number greater than 1 indicating their increased relative importance.
How far up the mountain is your expedition team, and what does this say about their prospects for added success?
If the expedition is already doing great, helping it do even greater is a cost effective proposition. Google already deems it relevant, and the traffic rewards are richer for every position gained as you approach position 1.
It’s a better bet to look into developing existing success despite the added difficulty of upward movement in the higher positions because the potential for a high-payout easy fix exists, and effort can be unified on few stronger clusters rather than focusing on a set of easier-looking clusters for which current position strength is poorer.
An organic CTR model
How advantage is calculated:
SERP position – For each keyword in the cluster, take a snapshot of your website’s position.
Combining 1 & 2 into a single metric – Estimated traffic share is calculated by getting the position-based CTR for each keyword’s current ranking position, multiplying this by the search volume and scaling it up to cluster level – one easy way to do this is by pivot table. It’s the single percentage value that reflects how well a whole cluster is doing, reliably revealing if it’s already on to a good thing.
How is your expedition team getting along – is it unified upon a single goal? This measure looks at the pages ranking in a cluster and expresses the key information about them and the cluster-level relationships between them as a single score. Is there a single dominant page ranking on which you can focus your efforts? Or are the rankings cannibalised across multiple competing pages – and if so, is it bad enough to stop the expedition from succeeding right away, even if you bolster its supply lines?
How it’s calculated:
Search volume split across ranking pages – Within a cluster, how is the available total search volume for those keywords split across each page which is ranking? This gives an indication of how much relevance the search engine is assigning to each page in relation to the cluster, even if the ranking positions in question are far below the click threshold.
Identify the dominant page & compare – The dominant page is the page covering the greatest total search volume in the cluster. Knowing this page, we can compare vs non-dominant pages to get a reliable idea of how fragmented a cluster is, and importantly, whether this fragmentation is serious enough to matter in relation to the campaign aim. Sometimes it’s not a big deal – for example, a non-dominant page ranking for 3% of the cluster volume will have little or no detrimental impact on cluster performance. So these patterns, when identified, are not flagged as problems.
Variation in average rank across ranking pages – Compares the distance between the average rank of the dominant page with the average rank of the cluster, which reveals major differences in relevancy assignment within the cluster – another red flag.
These are multiplied together based on a set of criteria to give a single score which reveals how unified your expeditions are for each cluster relative to the average unification across all clusters. This allows the worst problems of this type on the site to be identified and ranked in order of severity.
One thing to note – The use of this measure as a cannibalisation detector depends on the clusters being properly constituted. This is particularly handy if you didn’t do the clustering yourself and it needs improving – it can alert you to clusters which should be split or which contain irrelevant keywords. It’s a smart measure in that it won’t trigger if there’s just a handful of irrelevant keywords left over from the keyword gathering stage – it’s only when the presence of irrelevant keywords will have a measurable impact on the SEO campaign targeting that a problem is flagged with the cluster.
From Cluster Characteristics To Campaign Priorities: 4 Strategic Shortlists
Now the vital statistics of your clusters have been nailed down, the information is processed into 4 ranked shortlists (Gap, Fix, Defend, Boost) based on a comparison of the dominant characteristics of each cluster.
The 4 shortlists are produced when weighting formulas run through a series of ordered checks:
Detect gap clusters & rank them by priority – These are clusters for which no page is ranking, and for new sites, this is the focus. Priority is calculated by value and AdWords competition level is factored in as a guide to modify for difficulty in relation to value so the easiest new-page wins are explored first. The output – The gap shortlist.
Check for cluster unity – For the clusters that are not total gaps, is there a solid page you can focus on to improve performance – or do you need to go in and split or consolidate the targeting to address cannibalisation before you can expect good results in response to campaign activity? Those which need looking at are identified and listed in order of..
Everyone at Found HQ has been buzzing since last week when we heard the news about scooping up 12th place in the Great Places to Work 2018 rankings. And it’s not just the award that’s making us smile, we’ve moved up a category too – from small to medium in size!
This achievement is going down in our books as one of our most noteworthy awards, especially because voting was done by our much-loved staff. But, the submission process wasn’t as simple as it sounds.
The first part included an anonymous survey that was circulated amongst the team. It asked questions about client work, managers and colleagues, the office working environment, and much more. The results were astounding and ample proof that our Founders genuinely enjoy working here.
Then came the second part, the bit where things got slightly harder. After weeks of writing, collating and proofreading, we finally submitted our 60 -page proposal – the result of A LOT of hard work. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this award means so much to us, we’ve definitely earned it!
Looking back to when we first started out as a small agency, it has always been a mission of ours to be known as an agency that’s renowned for exceptional performance, and there’s no doubt that we could have never succeeded in this without our brilliant team.
We’re over the moon that Found has become an employer of choice, and through learning & development, has resulted in offering a good work/life balance, and a team that gets fulfillment from their professional life – for us, this will always be a priority. And we can’t forget our valued clients, who are the pinnacle of all our efforts, giving us reason to always be one step ahead of the competition.
Here’s to another smashing year at Found, bring on 2019!