GOOGLE ADS TO LIMIT SEARCH TERMS REPORTING? Google advertisers will no longer be able to see search queries that triggered their ads when there is not enough “significant” data on the query. Why? To prevent advertisers from using minimal query data to identify users or to have access to personally identifiable information (PII) used in search queries. Currently, advertisers have insights into search terms with only one impression or click. This allows them to deploy a negative keyword management strategy, where they can prevent wasteful ad spend by excluding irrelevant queries with minuscule impressions or clicks.
Why you should care: If your MBA program is running a Google Ad and the ad shows for the query “undergraduate business school rankings,” you may want to exclude that query moving forward. With Google’s new announcement about limiting query visibility, you won’t know that your ad ran for that query unless it has enough “significant” data. If Google’s main intention is to reel back a few select sensitive queries, that’s one thing. On the other hand, there are thousands of low-volume queries with zero privacy risk out there that serve real value for advertisers. It would be a huge loss if that insight vanished.
TESTING FACEBOOK AUTO VS MANUAL PLACEMENTS: On Facebook, you can manually set the placement of your ads or let the platform's algorithm automatically place your ads based on where it thinks your ads will perform the best. But which placement method actually performs best? Metric Theory saw a 6% increase in conversions and 6% decrease in cost per acquisition when manually placing ads on the desktop and mobile news feeds instead of using automatic placements. For one partner, they saw a 211% increase in conversion rate by using manual placements!
Why you should care: Manually placing your ads can allow you to get more granular in your targeting by only spending ad budget on placements aligned with how you want prospective students to engage with your content. If you’re just starting out with Facebook Ads, start with automatic placements for a month or two to look for high-performing placements. As you come to understand where prospective students are engaging with your ads on Facebook, you should then begin to manually place your ads.
READY FOR GOOGLE’S PAGE EXPERIENCE UPDATE? Back in June, we let you know that Google is set to launch a new update in 2021 that will penalize websites with poor user experience. Have you ever accidentally tapped a button because it shifted during a page load? Websites will now get penalized for that! Google confirmed that content remains the most important ranking factor, but that “in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes more important for visibility in search.”
Why you should care: As 2021 nears, your timeframe narrows for auditing (and optimizing) your site before the update. Take some time to visit your program pages on your mobile device. Does content shift around before the page loads? Do pop ups or ads prevent you from reading the page’s main content? If you experience these sorts of issues, your prospective students are also likely encountering these friction points and pretty soon, you may see a decrease in organic search rankings on Google. Before it gets to that point, make the effort to improve your site’s user experience.
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