Archive for the ‘Digital Marketing’ Category

Google Analytics 3 is being replaced; ensure your website is ready.

March 28th, 2022 by Dave O'Dwyer

update your website for Google Analytics 4

While the writing has been on the wall for some time, Google has finally announced that Universal Analytics (aka UA, Google Analytics 3, GA3) will stop processing data by July 1st 2023.

The free measurement tool used by millions of websites around the world will be replaced by Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – Google’s new version of Google Analytics.  Google Analytics is used by practically every webmaster to analyse the behaviour of visitors to a website.  In order to collect data, a unique Google Analytics code must be installed on every page of a website.

As at July 1st 2023, GA3 will stop processing data, however you will still be able to access your data for another six months.

Contactpoint’s Digital Marketing Team use Google Analytics to analyse user traffic to your website, the channels that bring users there, what pages they view and what actions they take while on your website. We use this data to make decisions to improve the user experience (UX) and assist users to perform the actions the site is designed to attract as well as to report on the success of digital marketing campaigns. Google Analytics works in conjunction with other Google products such as Google Ads to create audiences for remarketing, and to track goal conversions.

The links between Google Ads and GA4 are even stronger and provide for additional capabilities for advertising, such as using AI and machine learning to make “predictive audiences” – audiences that are assessed to be the most likely to perform an action in the near future.

Why Has Google Replaced GA3?

Universal Analytics has been around for many years.  Over that time the Internet has changed considerably.  Google Analytics 3 was designed around the desktop web, independent sessions and more easily observable data from cookies.  Far more users now access the web on many other device types, and privacy (or PII – Personally Identifiable Information) has become more of a focus. Some countries have introduced data privacy laws to ensure user privacy is protected online.

GA3 wasn’t designed for that. GA4 has been designed with privacy at its core via an event-based model (instead of cookie-based) which keeps the ubiquitous tracking tool on the right side of the law.

What new features does GA4 bring?

GA4 brings a plethora of new features, the most important of which are:

  • An (arguably) improved interface.
  • Data protection oriented; it functions with or without cookies.
  • The ability to easily track across domains and platforms for efficient tracking of the entire customer journey.
  • A focus on events and users.
  • More actionable insights and data.
  • Cross platform data access; web and mobile analytics under one roof.
  • Enhanced measurement of time-based actions, with next to real-time data expected to be available.
  • New data driven attribution models.
  • Predictive Audiences powered by AI and machine learning.

The move to event and user focus, and the ability to track across domains and platforms, should lead to more meaningful and accurate data, facilitating analysis of the entire customer journey.  The move away from cookies keeps PII data protected, and should also improve the accuracy of data such as new vs return visitor measures.

Additionally, improvements to machine learning will allow GA4 users to predict audiences, and use these with other Google offerings like Google Ads.

McDonald’s Hong Kong used predictive audiences to make a mobile audience of ‘Likely seven-day purchasers’ and exported it to Google Ads. They saw app orders increase more than six times, a 2.3 times increase in ROI, a 5.6 times increase in revenue and their cost per action was reduced by 63%.


Not bad for a free product, right?

What do I need to do to prepare for this?

The biggest catch for businesses to be aware of is that you cannot carry your UA data over to GA4.

At Contactpoint, we are adding parallel Google Analytics tracking to sites we manage. This means we will have GA3 and GA4 collecting data at the same time, providing up to 15 months of past data when GA3 stops processing new visits. It also gives us time to ensure we have event tracking set up and tested.

If you have any concerns about the transition to Google Analytics 4, or you’d like Contactpoint to transition across your website, please get in touch so that we can assist.

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10 Pinterest Marketing Tactics for businesses in 2022

March 14th, 2022 by Heather Maloney

Pinterest – what is it, and how does it work?

Are you a planning a major life event? Or seeking some inspiration to redo your home?  If so, then you’re probably using Pinterest.

Pinterest marketing strategy and 10 pinterest marketing tactics

Pinterest users (aka ‘pinners’) generally create their own boards dedicated to a theme, and then pin images to that board.  Mostly their pins are images that they have found while browsing through other people’s public boards, collecting an ever growing set of ideas and inspiration over time.  You can make your boards private or public, and you can also upload images.

When you type something in the Pinterest search bar, you are presented with an array of aesthetic and inspirational content.  90% of Pinterest users, use the platform to constantly explore, discover new ideas and seek inspiration before making their next purchase.

Pinterest is a visual search engine, providing sophisticated technology which allows users to perform a visual search in order to find similar images to the one they are currently viewing.

Even if you don’t specifically carry out a visual search, Pinterest takes queues from what you have ‘pinned’ (i.e. added to your topic boards) to present similar images and categories to you, to keep you browsing.

Pinterest will also send you regular emails, recommending new boards and pins for you, which match your browsing history.

Who is using Pinterest?

As at February 2022, Pinterest had over 431 million users using the platform every month – this number is around 6% down from the previous year, but is still more than the total population of the USA.

The platform has a slight female skew with approximately 60% of users being female, however, male users have increased as a percentage of the total in the last year, and Gen Z users are also on the increase.

How to best use Pinterest for Marketing Purposes?

Pinterest provides a great opportunity for businesses with highly visual products and services. In fact, 55% of users are specifically on the platform to find photos of new products, underscoring the importance of creating and sharing decorative and artistic content on the platform.

A well-curated Pinterest presence for your business will give it exposure to many new potential customers. Pinterest claims to be the only social platform where ads are additive i.e. people find what they love and it enhances their lives rather than interrupting them.

Pinterest, like other social platforms, also gives you the opportunity to advertise to a highly targeted audience.

Pinterest Marketing involves using tactics that insert Pinterest into your overall social media marketing strategy to tap into new audiences and increases the brand awareness of your products and services.

Distribute your Content

The #1 way to distribute your content on Pinterest is through Pinterest boards. You can have countless boards organised by themes, ideas, plans, or types of inspiration to make it easy for your audience to find the content they’re interested in.

If you find content from other pinners aligning with your own, you can invite them to contribute to your board – making your board a “group board”. Conversely, you can also search for prominent pinners in your niche and try joining group boards relevant to your industry. Once your request to join is accepted, you can alternate between posting organic content and sponsored content (product pins or promoted pins).

Pinterest digital marketing

Educate your Customers

Pinterest’s value proposition lies in the fact that it has abundant tutorials, infographics, how-tos, and links to additional educational content.

It is a powerful way to educate and engage your customers, all the while making it easy for them to remember you and share your product images with others.

Drive traffic to your website

Unlike Instagram, Pinterest allows you link through to other websites, making it possible for you to share both written and visual content and direct users to your website. This has encouraged many brands to start using Pinterest to showcase their best or newest range of products, that lead a customer to visit the brand’s website to find out more about the product – potentially boosting online sales.

Advertise on Pinterest - online ads

Record stronger performance on the metrics that matter to you

Pinterest offers a 2.3x more efficient cost per conversion and a 2x higher return on ad spend (ROAS) for retail brands, compared to other social media platforms. This has made it an enticing proposition for brands in many industries.

10 Pinterest Marketing Tactics

Pinterest marketing can provide value for businesses of any size, in any industry. This universal approach to marketing is one reason Pinterest is such a valuable social media tool.

1. Create pins in most popular categories and sub-categories.

Pinterest organizes similar topics and interests by category. Its algorithm is designed to create specific categories based on popular topics that people are searching for on the platform. For example, if you were looking for some creative gift ideas for Valentine’s Day, you can search for pins in that category and even place an order from a local brand.

The Pinterest categories are broken down into sub-categories (also called Pinterest interests) as there are billions of pins currently on the platform. For example, the ‘home décor’ category has sub-categories like room décor, home accessories, living room, kitchen, bathroom and so on. Knowledge of what categories are popular on Pinterest will you a better idea of what boards will work for your business.

2. Use unique images and videos.

It’s clear that Pinterest is a visual platform. Images are the cornerstone of any pin you share and, as such, should be used to tell a good story and make people want to learn more. Your content should help promote your brand, while standing out from others on the platform. Giving people a reason to stay followed to you should lie at the heart of your Pinterest strategy.

  • 82% of users browse Pinterest on mobile. Use high-quality, vertical images that will stand out in people’s feeds. If you opt for a video, shoot your videos for a 2:3 aspect ratio to avoid ending up with poorly cropped images.
  • Create and share branded videos to promote your products. 75% of Pinterest users say they’re likely to watch branded videos about topics that interest them.
  • Share images and videos that showcase your products in action (like how-to videos) so viewers can more easily imagine themselves using them.
  • Consider including SEO-optimised headlines and pin descriptions in your pin that reinforce your visual message and encourage users to click through to your website.
  • Avoid using too much blank/white space in your images — images with 30% less blank space in the background are pinned most.
  • Create videos between 30-90 seconds long as this video length provides the highest performance.

3. Try different Pin Formats

Pinterest offers advertisers different formats, both organic and paid, to reach customers. Pins can either be regular organic or full-fledged Pinterest ads.

  • Static Pins. These pins only feature one image. It is recommended to include a compelling description up to 500 characters in these pins to help get your pin in front of the right audience.
  • Standard width video Pins. These pins are videos that are the same size as a regular Pin. The video length ranges from a minimum of 4 seconds to a maximum of 15 minutes. You can include a title up to 100 characters and a description up to 500 characters. It is worth noting some pinners watch video with the sound off, and so you should use text overlay or captions to help tell your story.
  • Carousel Pins. These pins feature multiple images for people to swipe through. You can have 2-5 images per carousel, with the same character requirements as standard width video pins.
  • Collections Pins. These pins appear as one main image (the hero creative) above three smaller images (secondary creative), in feeds on mobile devices. Every collection pin must have 1 hero creative, and secondary creatives ranging from a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 24, with same video length and character requirements as standard width video pins.

4. Feature your blog post

Pinterest allows you to post Articles Pins through which you can promote your blog post and direct Pinterest users to your website. These pins come with a larger title with your brand’s logo, a description, and a call-to-action at the bottom with a direct link to your original site.

5. Add hashtags to your content.

Hashtags are a great way to organically reach your target audience. They help users identify pins and boards about a specific topic they’re searching.

Like other social media platforms, when you click on a specific hashtag, you can view all content ever posted on the platform tagged with that specific hashtag.

6. Carefully plan your boards

Since 97% of Pinterest searches are unbranded, your Pinterest board can help your audience learn more about the topics they’re passionate about. Through your board, you must communicate a strong understanding of what your audience values and supports. Brands will reap significant dividends from skilfully mixing useful, engaging, and inspiring content boards with boards that are more promotional.

7. Use SEO for Pinterest

You need a comprehensive SEO strategy centred around keyword research to ensure that your pins end up in front of your audience. We assist our clients to find popular keywords related to your business and your pins, and incorporate these within pins.

Once you have decided upon the keywords you wish to target, they should be used consistently throughout your Pinterest profile, posts, pins, and boards, making your pins more likely to organically appear in users’ feeds and searches.

8. Share your content via email and social networks

Sharing your Pinterest images and videos to other social networks improves your chances of being seen and followed. You can claim or link your Pinterest account with your Instagram, Etsy, YouTube, Facebook, and Google accounts so your followers can easily learn about the other platforms you’re on and how they can view more of your content.

We also recommend that you include a few of your latest pins in your newsletter, encouraging your subscribers to check out your Pinterest account.

9. Follow, engage, and interact with other accounts.

When you follow and interact with other Pinterest users and their accounts, you are showing that you care. Its considered best practice to directly address questions and respond to all comments posted by your followers. Try using their names in your response to make it sound like its coming from a human; not a company that is only concerned about profits. These small gestures will increase your word-of-mouth and encourage others to follow you as well.

10. Analyse your results

A Pinterest marketing strategy is never complete without detailed analytics. If you have a Pinterest Business account, you can use Pinterest Analytics to track, measure, and analyse key Pinterest metrics and audience behavior and gauge what content performs best and what content is a little less engaging.

Pinterest Analytics also provides you with additional audience insights such as gender, location, devices, and interests.

Case Study: Gayafores Australia

Contactpoint recently assisted our client, Gayafores Australia – manufacturer of high quality, Spanish porcelain floor and wall tiles, to utilise Pinterest. Pinterest is a great platform for Gayafores, given that the brand is all about aesthetically beautiful, and high quality, porcelain tiles.  Gayafores tiles effortlessly interpret the latest home-design trends to create timelessly beautiful looks, using high-performance tiles.

Gayafores Pinterest digital marketing melbourne

Using the right categories and creative assets, we were able to deliver stellar performance on Pinterest.

Gayafores pinterest marketing case study

During the campaign, data from the interactions enabled us to determine what type of content was performing and alter focus to capitalise on the areas of highest engagement.

Looking to start on Pinterest?

Pinterest is a powerful marketing tool that allows you to organically improve your reach and brand awareness while creating long-lasting relationships with your customers.

Need help with Pinterest Marketing? Contact the Pinterest Marketing Experts at Contactpoint.

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5 Benefits of Using Linktree for Instagram

March 3rd, 2022 by Isaac Nelapana

social media marketing melbourne

Founded in 2016, Linktree is a “link in bio” service that can help you promote yourself and your brand online. It allows you to have one link in a social media platform bio that links through to all your content, in a mobile responsive way. This functionality is perfect for Instagram, which currently only allows you to link one website URL in your bio.

Aptly marketed as the “only link you’ll ever need”, it is a useful addition to your Instagram marketing, allowing you to connect audiences to your content with a single link. It serves as a window into your latest video, article, recipe, tour, store, website, social post – everywhere you are online.

Instagram marketing Melbourne

Contactpoint’s Linktree profile on Instagram

Benefits of using Linktree

1. Increased Click-Through Rate (CTR) — Giving your Instagram audience more links to select significantly increases the likelihood that they’ll click through. This will boost your organic traffic and number of pageviews of your website, which will inevitably boost your engagement / sales.

2. Cross-Platform Promotion — You can use your LinkTree page to cross-promote yourself by linking out to your other social pages. If you’re a podcast producer based in Melbourne, you can use Linktree to house links to your latest episodes on Google Podcasts, Apple, and Spotify. Or, if you’re a local restauranteur, its perhaps worthwhile to communicate to your customers that you are present on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.

3. Expand your Target Audience — Having various links to choose from means that you can implement more targeted Instagram campaigns with different links targeted at different buyer audiences. For instance, a service provider would want to have clear, yet distinct links to their key services.  This will expand the target audience without having to tailor your social profile to just one of service.

4. More Affiliate Sales — Linktree also partnered with Amazon, allowing users to upload their Amazon store profile as an affiliate link. Using Linktree, you can choose to add one (or several) affiliate links to your custom landing page as well as your personal/branded links. Compiling all your links in the same place increases the chance that customers will look at them.

5. Easy to use and update — You can effortlessly create, update, and customise your Linktree profile from a central dashboard, using its simple drag-and-drop editor. It offers a wide range of custom colours, fonts, and images to make your Linktree pop.  As soon as you update your profile within LinkTree, it will be updated across all the places where you have used it for your profile.

Is Linktree free?

Linktree operates on a freemium as well as a premium model. The free version has limited functionality and doesn’t allow you to add much branding. However, you can add a profile picture and change the colour of the background to one of their pre-sets.

The paid version has 3 plans – Starter (A$8), Pro (A$14) and Premium (A$32) and offers users more customisation, marketing, and analytics tools.

Should I use Linktree?

Linktree is a perfect place for you to store links to your website, blogs, or videos – evergreen content that your followers are interested in. Think of it as a one-stop shop for your best resources and content.

However, if you’re running an Instagram promotion, Linktree might not be your best option. Instead, having a single link would be more appropriate, because then there would no doubt in what you’re asking your followers to do.

Create a Linktree on your Instagram Today

Need help with creating your first Linktree? Contact the Marketing Experts at Contactpoint.

If you need help marketing your business using Linktree, we can help!

Contact our office today on (03) 8525 2082 or send an email to

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Why You Should Consider YouTube as part of your Advertising Strategy in 2022?

January 18th, 2022 by Isaac Nelapana

For decades, marketers have found video to be a powerful form of storytelling.

Marketers are increasingly leaning towards YouTube advertising to ensure that their ads are both seen and heard, providing greater opportunity to impact brand perceptions, build purchase intent and ultimately drive action.  With over 2 billion logged-in visitors per month, YouTube has the highest viewability and audibility on the web.

Benefits of YouTube Advertising

Easy to reach engaged users. People are watching enough YouTube videos to keep them occupied through a flight to the sun and back – 3,000 times! Due to the availability of rich and diverse content on the platform, YouTube viewers tend to be more engaged.

Advertisers will be successful in their campaigns if they interact with highly targeted audiences in their ‘personal prime time’, or otherwise highly engaged moments where users tune into YouTube to stream the content that they are passionate about. This strategy will reap huge dividends as viewers claim to pay 3x more attention to ads that are relevant to them versus ads aimed at a generic audience.

Targeting Based on Users’ Search History. YouTube has some powerful targeting capabilities that make it a valuable platform across the customer journey. More than 55% of people search for a product on Google and then learn more by going to YouTube before they buy it.

What if you could target ads at people who recently searched for a certain product or service? Well, with some recent changes to the YouTube advertising landscape, now you can. If the content of a video ad closely resembles the keywords typed by a searcher, then the searcher is more likely to watch the whole ad and become a potential qualified lead for a business.

Smarter Data Attribution Models. Google’s Attribution Model learns from how users interact with your ads and convert. When used along with automated bidding strategies, it helps drive additional conversions at the same Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

How much does YouTube Advertising Cost?

Every organisation and product / service niche will be different.  Your spend will also be influenced by your ad targeting.  However, “average” spend on YouTube ads are $0.10 to $0.30 per view or action, with an average $10 daily budget. In other words, whenever someone views your ad, or engages with your video, you will be charged anywhere between $0.10 to $0.30 USD.

If you would like an estimate of the cost for your particular product / service, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

What to Consider before Advertising on YouTube?

Advertising on YouTube is quite different from running a traditional pay-per-click ad (such as Google Ads) or paid social media campaign (such as a boosted post in Facebook). Some YouTube Advertising best practices are as follows:

Build for attention. Use an emerging story arc to hook viewers in the opening moments of an ad. Start fast and keep an upbeat pace with unexpected shifts in your story to capture and retain attention. Then direct consumers to take an action. In a time when attention is limited and audiences face an overload of information, showing the right creative can help you build long lasting brand awareness and recall. Digital ads with strong-performing design drive 6x ROI compared to digital ads with an average design performance.

Build for sound on. 95% of videos watched on YouTube are played with sound on. Leverage the power of audio elements such as music, dialogue, and sound effects to reinforce what’s happening on screen.

Build for mobile. Globally, more than 70% of watch time happens on mobile devices. Use tighter framing, faster pacing, brightness, and contrast to ensure that your ad is visible on a small screen.

Types of YouTube Ads

YouTube makes it easy for advertisers to create a video ad, and provides many different ad options. The following are the available ad formats:

Skippable In-stream Ads. These are in-stream video ads that allows users to choose to engage with the video. They play before, during, or after other videos, and come with an option to skip the ad after viewing the first five seconds. They appear on YouTube watch pages and across websites and apps running on Google video partners.

With Cost-Per-View (CPV) bidding, advertisers are charged when someone watches 30 seconds of an ad or to completion (whichever is lesser), or when they complete a desired action from the video, such as clicking through to visit the advertiser’s site or downloading their mobile app.

Skippable In-stream Ads can be used to achieve any of the following goals: sales, leads, website traffic, brand awareness and reach, and product and brand consideration.

YouTube Advertising Skippable instream ads

Non-skippable in-stream ads. Since most people (especially millennials) tend to skip ads, YouTube offers advertisers the ability to use non-skippable in-stream ads to drive awareness and reach their target audience. They range from 15-20 seconds and are great for capturing a viewer’s attention. Advertisers are charged based on the number of impressions an ad receives.

Marketers should note, however, that these ads are least liked by viewers. When viewers are forced to watch longer ads, they tend to get annoyed, and that can be damaging for brands. Besides, since these ads are more expensive than other YouTube ad formats, they are only used by businesses willing to spend more to generate brand or product awareness.

With either of these ad types, it is always recommended to capture the attention of potential customers in the first few seconds to leave a positive impression with the viewer. Having excellent video content for non-skippable ads is of the utmost importance.

In-feed Video ads. Previously called video discovery ads, these ads are visible in places of discovery, which includes the YouTube home feed, watch feed and search results. They reach audiences at important moments while they’re searching for or watching content on YouTube. Their key differentiating feature is that the ad never starts playing by itself, instead, it invites viewers to click on it using an attractive thumbnail image and some text. Advertisers are charged each time a viewer clicks on the thumbnail to watch the ad.

It is worth considering using this ad format given that watch time from content discovered on the YouTube homepage has grown 10X in the last three years. In fact, over 40% of global shoppers say that they’ve purchased products that they discovered on YouTube, making these ads an effective means of driving consideration and conversion.

In-video Overlay ads. These ads appear as a popup (text or image-based) across the bottom 20% of a video on the watch page. Unlike most popup ads, these ads are not intrusive and allow viewers to continue watching their videos. In fact, viewers can either press the “x” located at the top right corner of the ad, or click on the ad, which would most likely result in them being taken to a dedicated landing page, off YouTube, promoting an offer.

YouTube Video Advertising

You can also add an optional companion banner to supplement your overlay ad. This ad would appear above all the ‘related videos’, and even if you choose not to include a companion display ad, no other company’s ad will appear next to your overlay.

Bumper Ads. Six-second non-skippable video ads that drive reach, frequency, and brand awareness. They are designed for a mobile-first world and deliver the best reach, awareness, and brand recall at the lowest Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) among in-stream video formats.

These ads are best placed to deliver short, memorable brand messages to viewers on-the-go who do not have the time to view longer ads. Since they’re only six seconds, they have the highest completion rates and serve to complement other YouTube Ad formats. Consumers who see three or more bumpers have 2.2x the ad recall of consumers who see just one.

Outstream Ads. Outstream ads are mobile-only ads that help you increase your brand awareness and reach at an efficient cost. They begin playing with the sound off and viewers must tap the ad to unmute the video. Aptly named “outstream”, they are only available outside YouTube – across a variety of mobile web and app placements. Advertisers are charged based on viewable cost-per-thousand-impressions (vCPM) i.e. when a viewer watches your ads for 2 seconds or more.

Masthead Ads. These ads appear at the top of the YouTube home page and home feed and are used to drive awareness for a new product launch, focus on high impact placement for greater visibility, or to reach a massive audience in a short period of time.

YouTube advertising masthead ads

Masthead ads come with minimum spend requirements and are only available on a reservation basis, so you are charged on a cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) basis. It is advisable to use the Masthead Preview Tool to draft and finalise the Masthead creative before submitting it to Google. The campaign must be booked, and creative assets need to be delivered for implementation at least three working days before the campaign start date.


For best results, you should consider linking your YouTube channel to your Google Ads account to access video ads’ organic view metrics, show ads to people who visit and interact with your channel, and get insights about how people interact with your channel after viewing your ads.

Need help with YouTube Advertising? Contact the YouTube Advertising Experts at Contactpoint.

If you needs help creating your first YouTube ad campaign, we can help!

Contact our office today on (03) 8525 2082 or send an email to

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Social Reviews: Why they are Important and How to Respond

November 17th, 2021 by Isaac Nelapana

We all love when customers love our business, but what happens when a customer is unsatisfied enough to leave a negative review?

In this blog we discuss how you can leverage this opportunity to not only satisfy unhappy customers but also win the respect of potential customers.

Why responding to reviews is important?

85% of consumers now trust online reviews as much as they trust traditional recommendations. If you consider just people in the age group of 18 – 29, that number is 91%. Online reviews have become the main method of influence and social proof in 2021.

Let’s say that you’re looking to get pet insurance for your cat. You really love your cat. She’s been such an excellent buddy during the pandemic, minus the part where she interrupts the occasional Teams Meeting with your colleagues. But a blessing, nonetheless!

Since you don’t really want to spare any expense, you type “best pet insurance australia” on Google and hit search. Then, you see search ads from 3 companies – RSPCA, Kogan and Choosi.

Other attributes aside, you would probably be inclined to explore RSPCA solely based on the fact it has average rating of 4.5 across 1,384 reviews.
Humans are social creatures and generally feel that it’s important to conform to the norms of a social group – a phenomenon otherwise described as “social proofing” by leading social scientist Robert Cialdini in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

When making decisions, we often look around us to see what others are doing, before making our mind up.

If you think that reviews weren’t important, you might want to consider the following statistics:

  • A study by Northwestern Universitys Spiegel Research Centre discovered that the likelihood of someone purchasing a product with five reviews is 270% greater than a product with no reviews. Further, when reviews are shown for a lower-priced product, the conversion rate increases by 190%. This figure rises to 380% for higher-priced products.
  • Consumers read an average of 10 reviews before deciding to trust a local business. Interestingly, Facebook and Yelp are the two most-trusted review sources for local searches. Google comes in at a close third. Yelp seems to have the strictest rules and regulations, with the average review score on its platform being 3.65, much lower than Facebook (4.42) and Google (4.3).
  • Yelp may be the most reliable place to gauge reviews for customers. An extra rating star on Yelp translates into a 5% to 9% revenue growth, a statistic that only underscores the impact that a Yelp rating has on business’ bottom-line.
  • 57% of consumers will only consider a business if it has a star rating of 4 stars or more.

That’s some pretty persuasive figures when it comes to validating the importance of online reviews for your business.

But you shouldn’t stop at merely collecting reviews. 97% of consumers who read online reviews also read those businesses’ responses to their online reviews.

How a business responds to a negative review can influence the searcher as much as a positive review. Firstly, it displays a sense of authenticity to the reviews. Not all customers can be happy, and a negative review here and there can actually be a good thing for social proof as it can legitimise the other reviews in the mind of the reader.

However, it is vital that you have access to respond to negative reviews to handle the customer’s criticisms in a way that makes other potential customers comfortable that you handle conflict well.

8 Tips on how to respond to Negative Reviews

Understand your customer’s experience with your business before responding.
If someone mentions a problem with a product or service, investigate to see what may have gone wrong.

This is valuable business insight. It’s so easy to get lost in the day-to-day running of your business that you lose the customers perspective. Take the criticism with an open mind.

Be honest about mistakes made and steps you’ve taken (or will take) to remedy the situation. Further, consider that the customer might be venting their frustrations about something else.

Get a second opinion
To ensure that your response to a negative review is accurate, let an unbiased third party scrutinise it before you post it online.

Double-check your message for grammar and tone by sending the response to several colleagues to ensure that it “reads” well to a third party. Otherwise, you run the risk of your response being interpreted as overly defensive or aggressive, which would neither benefit you nor the customer.

Respond in a timely and personalised manner
Studies have shown that 87% of e-commerce sites don’t respond to the negative reviews, not even on their most popular products sold. This is not a sustainable strategy since businesses experience a 37% decline in customer advocacy simply by not responding to negative reviews.

When an airline responded to a customer’s tweet in five minutes or less, that customer was willing to pay almost $20 more for a ticket on that airline in future. According to Yelp’s Data Science team, Yelp users are 33% more likely to upgrade their review if you respond with a personalised message within a day.

Customers (especially unhappy ones) always appreciate a prompt response. Whenever you receive a negative review, make it your priority. Read the review carefully, put together a quick action plan and be sure to have replied within 24 to 48 hours. Further, document all your responses to negative reviews and construct a guidebook for your business that can serve as a reference point in the future.

Quick Tip – Add Google My Business to your phone so you can see reviews as they come in.

Acknowledge and Apologise
A negative review, either one that contains harsh language or a low-star rating, can feel like a personal attack. In these times, as difficult as it sounds, you must remember to stay professional and courteous. Accept that not every customer will be 100% satisfied. Objectively analyse the situation and avoid lashing out at the customer.

Then, proceed to thank the customer for the review. Even if negative, this customer took the time to provide feedback on your business. It is an opportunity to learn.

Aim to make the customer feel that you care deeply about your relationship with him since over 70% of buying decisions are based on how a customer feels they are being treated. It might still be the early days, but you have a realistic shot at retaining your customer by approaching them sincerely and promising to do better in the future.

“We’re sorry to hear you had an unpleasant experience with us this time, and value your feedback. But we’d love to make it up to you the next time around. Contact us at [CUSTOMER SERVICE EMAIL] to receive a special discount code for your next purchase!”

You can also opt for the following response:
“On behalf of everyone at [BUSINESS NAME], I apologise for your poor customer experience. We aim to provide the best service to all our customers, and as you can see from the other reviews, your negative experience was truly an exception. You have our word when we promise not to let this happen again. Our staff will commit to improving their delivery and give you the star service you deserve, should you choose us again. Please accept my heartfelt apologies in the meantime.”

Showing the customer your willingness to see things their way can make a huge difference in their perception of you. Such compassion and empathy for the customer acts as a great display of business ethics to potential customers, giving them a sneak peek into your business personality.

Additionally – and this is important – you have shown how you handle criticism to anyone else who might read that review. You are writing a response for that customer AND any potential future customer. You have managed to reinforce your commitment to customer satisfaction as well as outline the positives that most customers feel about your business, and this is a powerful brand message to convey.

Consider the type of reviewer
Despite every person having a unique situation, there are certain broad categories into which people fall. For instance, they may be First-time reviewers, Sharpshooters, or Serial Complainers. Understand these categories and be prepared with a tailored response for each category.

  • First-time reviewers. Assess whether the negative feedback is accurate. If it is, make internal changes to fix the problem. When applicable, explain how you will prevent this issue from occurring again in the future. Further, if you disagree with the reviewer’s statements, politely and professionally present your side of the story.
  • Sharpshooters. Sharpshooters are the ones who write brief, but often rushed or poorly worded reviews. Your response to these reviews must be concise, built on clear sentences instead of elaborate ones to reflect the reviewer’s communication style.
  • Serial Complainers. Serial complainers are seasoned reviewers with a track record of leaving lengthy negative reviews for every business, product, or service they use. They are incredibly hard to please and have unrealistically high standards of service, usually not in proportion to what they paid for. In this case, you must tread carefully given that the reviewer is experienced at making businesses like yours look bad online. Look at how other businesses have responded to serial complainers and avoid making the same mistakes they made.
  • Fake Reviewers. Fakers, or fake reviewers are the worst type of reviewers. A faker has never used your business or purchased your product. Despite this, they have a grudge and delight in leaving one-star reviews based on fictional complaints to harm your online reputation. They may be working on behalf of a competitor (or even be a competitor!). If you suspect a review is fake, check your customer records to determine if they have ever used your business. Once you’re sure that you’re dealing with a faker, proceed to flagging the review on Google Maps, or on (Google My Business). If you haven’t received an email from Google stating that they’ve received your request, head over to Twitter and send a direct message to Google My Business.

Add a Touch of Specificity
Always address the reviewer’s primary concern. Doing so shows that you’re paying attention to their review — that you hear them and care enough to tailor your response to their unique situation.

“We’re usually known for our exceptional customer service, and we regret that we didn’t live up to those expectations here.”

Keep it Short and Sweet
Even when the negative review seems a bit unfair, resist the urge to defend every point and prove your case. It may sound counterintuitive, but long-winded responses only serve to legitimise the complaint, and further upset the customer.

Besides, a detailed, point-by-point rebuttal can sound defensive. Don’t ask follow-up questions. You want to avoid saying anything that could invite the customer into writing another negative response.

Move the Situation Offline
As much you want to resolve the issue, never try to fix everything from one empathetic online reply. Instead, aim to take the conversation offline. If this is the first time you are hearing of the complaint, invite the customer to email or call so that you can try to sort out the matter with them.

“If you are open to discussing this further, please call us at (03) 9999 1234 and ask to speak with Jamie, our General Manager. We’d greatly appreciate the opportunity to make things right and work toward earning back your business.”

In conclusion, remember that when you respond to a negative review, you are not just in communication with one unhappy customer.

The truth is you are communicating with a whole bunch of prospective customers who consider your response to past negative reviews before purchasing from you. Thus, a well-written negative review response can increase sales. So, it’s crucial to get your response right every time.

After all, a carefully considered response can turn a negative into a positive for your business.

If you’re a local business that needs help with creating a Google My Business listing, or responding to negative reviews online, we can help.

At Contactpoint, we offer SEO audits, consulting, and monthly local SEO services. We optimize Google My Business listings to help you get the most from this amazing free tool, including crafting perfect responses to negative (and positive) reviews.

Contact our office today on (03) 8525 2082 or send us an email at and we’ll be happy to help.

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Why Google My Business is Important for Small Businesses in 2021

October 22nd, 2021 by Isaac Nelapana

You may have seen the information box that often appears when you type in a business name into a search in Google. It will comprise the Name, Address, Phone, Website link, Google Reviews and an interactive Google map for the business.

But how do you claim this for your business so that you can keep your information correct, post updates, and respond to your reviews? The answer is via a Google My Business account.

take control of your Google My Business listing

Why Is Google My Business important?

Aside from providing details to searchers when they know the name of your business, Google My Business listings also appear prominently in the results of location-based searching.
Imagine that you run a local eatery in Melbourne’s CBD. Every day, you are competing with a dozen other similar food chains in the city. As a small business owner, you might feel that the chances of getting noticed by potential customers and increasing your store traffic are becoming less. However, there’s still a way for you to stay competitive.
Many people no longer step out of their houses (or offices) and dine at the first restaurant they see. They have become much savvier than that, due to becoming accustomed to searching for information online.

In fact, “restaurants open now near me” is a phrase that is searched for about 135,000 times per month in Australia. Another example search: “Italian food near me” had an average search volume of 368,000 per month!

If you were a local restaurant owner, Italian or otherwise, wouldn’t you want to be listed in those searches? That’s why you need to claim and maintain your Google My Business listing.
A Google My Business listing enables your business to show up at the exact moment people are searching for businesses like yours! As searchers on Google are close to making a purchase decision, an optimised Google My Business listing is a sure-fire way to capture those searchers and help convert them into paying customers.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (which used to be known as Google Local and Google Places) provides you an amazing opportunity to list your business location on Google Maps and local search results. It is a separate record about businesses which was initially collated by Google bots, and is made available to the business to claim and link to their Google account.

Google My Business is completely free to use, and doesn’t cost anything to set up a business on the platform.

Anyone can add a place into Google Maps, which would then appear as results to local searches on Google, at no cost. However, not everyone can add and edit details such as hours, offerings, and service or product categories. To gain control over a Google My Business listing, you need to claim your business.

Once you have claimed your Google My Business listing, or added a new business listing, you can then control all the information about your business, respond to reviews, and optimise it to improve the chance of your business being shown to searchers.

You can do all this yourself, but we assist our clients to get the most out of Google My Business as part of our search engine optimisation services.

One of the ways to optimise your Google My Business listing is to include posts. These provide useful information to searchers, and therefore are important signals to Google about which business to include in the search results.

Where do Google My Business Posts appear?
Text, photo, or video posts appear to viewers in three core Google My Business locations:

  1. The mobile view of “Updates” or “Overview” sections of your profile in Google Search and Maps.
  2. The “From the Owner” section of your profile in the desktop view of Google Search and Maps.
  3. Google My Business websites.

Below is an example of posts appearing in the bottom of the desktop view of a Google My Business listing:
example of google my business posts to promote your business online

Google My Business Benefits for Small Businesses

56% of local retailers haven’t claimed their free Google My Business account.

This is surprising given all the benefits of a Google My Business listing, with localisation providing relevant results for searchers. There are lots of benefits to be gained by creating a Google My Business profile, including:

Improve your local SEO

An optimised Google My Business listing can significantly bolster your business’s local SEO ranking.

Searches including ‘near me’ or ‘open now’ are more likely to show Google My Business results which makes your business more discoverable.

A Google study from 2014 found that “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day.”

Keep your customers informed

Your Google My Business Listing includes your Name, Address and Phone Number as well as your website and business hours. With the changing government regulations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become vital to post updates when you’ve expanded services, temporarily closed, or fully reopened.

Misinformation can upset customers, lead to negative word-of-mouth and missed opportunities. Having access to your Google My Business account gives you control to keep your customers, and potential customers, informed as part of search results.

Boost customer confidence

A Google My Business listing boosts the trust and credibility in a local business. According to Google, customers are 70% more likely to visit businesses and 29% more likely to purchase something from a business with a complete Google My Business listing.

Collect Customer Reviews and respond to negative reviews

Reviews collected on a 3rd party website, such as Google Reviews, are an important way to improve customer trust and provide social peer proof.

Annual marketing research conducted in the UK shows that 79% of consumers now trust online reviews as much as much as they trust traditional recommendations from family and friends. Online reviews have become the main method of influence in 2021.

However, you can’t stop at collecting reviews. 96% of consumers who read online reviews also read those businesses’ responses to their online reviews. In fact, how a business responds to a negative review can influence the searcher as much as a positive review. It’s vital that you have access to respond to reviews to respond the customers criticisms in a way that makes other potential customers comfortable that you handle conflict with class.

Your Google My Business account becomes your online reputation management tool, while demonstrating the quality of your products or services to potential customers.

Gain Insights into Your Business

Google My Business Insights provide you with information about how customers searched for your business and where they’re coming from – valuable insights for future business improvements, expansion, or marketing activities.

The data available includes:

  • The number of views your profile, photos, and posts receive.
  • The number of photos owned by your business vs uploaded by customers.
  • The popular times and visit duration.
  • The search queries people use to find your business.
  • The number of Google My Business chats and overall engagement.
  • A profile of your audience: age groups, gender, and countries.
  • The number of website clicks, phone calls, and direction queries.

This valuable information can only be obtained by claiming your Google My Business listing.

Want help with Google My Business? Contact the SEO Experts at Contactpoint.

If you’re a local business that needs help with creating a Google My Business listing, or simply boosting your business’ online presence on Google and other search engines, we can help.

At Contactpoint, we offer SEO audits, consulting, and monthly local SEO services. We optimize Google My Business listings to help you get the most from this amazing free tool.

Contact our office today on (03) 8525 2082 or send us an email at and we’ll be pleased to help.

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Google and Apple Updates Affecting Digital Marketing

April 26th, 2021 by Phil Le

Businesses – both small and large scale – have been using digital marketing channels to target and reach potential customers for a long time now, often at a much lower cost compared to traditional mediums such as TV commercials or radio advertising. However, like most technology, digital marketing channels are evolving at a rapid pace and require digital marketing tactics and strategies that keep up with the change in order to get the best results.

In this blog, we will take you through the most recent major technological changes which will have a significant impact on how you execute your digital marketing plan.

Google Ads

In February 2021, Google announced changes to keyword bidding types. Once the rollout has completed, advertisers will no longer have a choice of broad match modified (BMM) or phrase match as two alternate keyword matching strategies. Instead, BMM & phrase match will be rolled into the one “updated phrase match” bidding strategy. As the name suggests, BMM allowed advertisers to choose the words which were required for their ad to be shown to searchers, but also allows the ad to be shown where additional words were used by the searcher and some of the words were not present.

Google stated that they have removed BMM in order to save advertisers time and effort in the management of their campaigns. The diagram below from Google’s explanation of the change shows a practical example of a search for “moving services NYC to Boston” and the outcome after the change.

PPC campaign management

Google stated that the change will ensure that more relevant ads are shown, as determined by the searchers’ entered keywords, boosting both users’ experiences and advertisers’ conversion rates. The new keyword matching system is easier to use because there are less choices. However the trade-off is less control for advanced users.

If you have been using BMM and getting great results, we recommend leaving those campaigns as is, and monitoring your results – Google will apply the changes to your existing setup. On average, we are expecting a slight decline in ad impressions, clicks and costs. It will be important to keep a close eye on the outcome, and continually review your keywords because the order of words within the phrases you are bidding for will now be more important.

If you have already been using phrase match, we expect you will experience a significant boost in ad impressions, clicks, costs and perhaps conversions (people taking the desired action after clicking on your ad), because the keywords are now more flexible and reach traffic which they could not in the past. However, you should monitor your budget closely because the costs could increase substantially, reducing your expected ROI.

We are still monitoring the impact of this rollout; whilst Google’s stated intentions are simplification and improved results, ultimately they make significant revenue from their ad platform and any change is also likely aimed at strengthening their share of ad spend and revenue.

Apple iOS 14.5 update

From 26th April 2021, Apple officially released iOS 14.5 for iPhone and iPad. The operating system version prompts users to opt out of pixel tracking within apps they install on their device. Prior to this change, the user had to be aware of this possibility, and manually find the setting to stop their behaviour and data being tracked and collected by 3rd parties such as Facebook. This is the sort of tracking is very powerful and has lead to situations like Target knowing that a teenage girl was pregnant before her father was told.

It has already been noted that the vast majority of iPhone and iPad users are opting out of the tracking of their behaviour and collection of their data after updating to iOS 14.5. Facebook is very concerned about the impact on their ad platform, and have started an advertising campaign to encourage small business to push back, stating that their tests have shown that a significant number of people have opted out of tracking.

We expect that as more people opt-out of tracking on iOS devices and become aware of their privacy options, performance reporting for your ad campaigns will become negatively impacted for both app and web conversion events.

With less tracking and behaviour data being applied to your advertising campaign, it will take longer for your ad campaign to build an audience or optimise for conversion, and therefore you will likely achieve a lower return on investment particularly in the initial phase of your campaign. In addition, the size of your target audience may be reduced as more people opt out of being tracked (and therefore won’t be served your targeted ads).

For Facebook advertising, even if iPhone and iPad users do opt in, event data is being limited to a maximum of nine campaigns (and five ad sets per campaign) for every Facebook account.

As an alternative to relying on the Facebook pixel, it is possible to implement the Facebook Conversion API to track user behaviour on the app server or web server (server-side) but implementation costs will be much higher and will likely deter small businesses wanting to test the usefulness of Facebook ads via a relatively low cost campaign.

According to Facebook, Apple are keen for you to invest in their ad platform instead, however their platform obviously limits your campaigns to Apple users.

Google Algorithm update – Search Engine Optimisation

If implemented well, Search Engine Optimisation (‘SEO‘) is one of the most cost-effective digital marketing tactics you can implement, yet it is the most complicated tactic to comprehend and execute successfully.

The main reason for this is Google (by far the most popular search engine, at least in Western nations) does not make known the finer details of their search algorithm. It requires trial and error to determine how to best setup your website to rank well for popular search terms, and the methods change all the time.

Google does not divulge the details about their algorithm, because they are trying to serve the needs of the searcher, and don’t want to empower businesses to outsmart their algorithm, and rank higher than another more deserving website. Instead, they give pointers and guidelines that are aimed at providing the best user experience for consumers of web information, and they are also constantly adjusting the algorithm to achieve better outcomes. Some people suggest that Google is also motivated to make SEO difficult because they would like to push more website owners over to using their Google Ads platform to deliver additional traffic, thus generating additional income for Google.

One of the factors in ranking well in Google’s search results is web page experience, which encompasses many factors including mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS-security, etc. Six months ago, Google announced that from May 2021, Core Web Vital Metrics (a range of metrics covering page load speed, interactivity and visual stability) would become more significant factors in the ranking of websites. If your website is poorly designed or taking too long to load, your website’s ranks will be adversely impacted.

The purpose of Google’s major algorithm update is to provide to searchers the most relevant websites with the best design and user experience. If your website is not ranking well in Google, even when you are providing valuable content to potential visitors, it is likely that core web vitals or user experience issues are causing your website to score poorly against Google’s algorithm.

Over the last 6 months our digital marketing team has been focusing on core web vitals for our clients websites for whom we provide SEO services. However, we will be carefully assessing the impact of the change which is still being rolled out by Google.

If you have concerns about any of the changes described above, please don’t hesitate to reach out and have a chat. We’d be delighted to assist with all your digital marketing requirements.

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Why Businesses Need to Keep Up with Search Engine Optimisation During COVID-19.

April 6th, 2020 by Vidhi Doshy

Just like Rome can’t be built in a day, the same goes for high performing search engine optimisation (‘SEO‘).

Search Engine Optimisation isn’t a short-term tactic. Consequently, this is one area of your digital marketing where a long-term plan is required.

Businesses have been greatly impacted, either directly due to restrictions on the services they can supply, or indirectly due to overall dampening of the economy as a result of COVID-19. In such a time, it is understandable that businesses are looking for ways to reduce expenses. However, we feel that it is important to give a word of caution before you cut your spending on SEO.

Search engine ranks are grown, or are damaged, over time.

There are a large number of factors that Google’s algorithms take into consideration when determining whether or not to show your website as the best result for a search. These factors include:

  • The freshness of your content. That’s why blogs are so important. They are usually dated, and a way of providing the latest information to searchers. Google can tell if your content has been updated or not, including behind-the-page optimisation and adjustments. If you pause your SEO, it’s likely that your site will start to look less fresh and be given a lower rank.

    Now might be a great time for you to write the white papers that you have been gathering data for, over time, or to create the additional help documentation, or resources your clients need to better understand what you do for them.
  • Natural Growth. Growing your content in a natural way (slowly over time) is likely to look more like valuable, authoritative content compared to a sudden burst of new content.
  • Authority conferred by shares. If your new content is shared over social media, and the destination of backlinks, then your content is also deemed as more valuable for search results by Google. If you aren’t adding content, you are missing this opportunity to build your ranks and website authority.

Aside from the above factors, if you pause your search engine optimisation during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are unlikely to be aware of your competitor’s ranks are overtaking your website ranks. Perhaps they are adding new content or services, or are using new strategies to rank on the terms you are competing for ranks on. The sooner you are aware of the change in your competitive landscape, the more quickly you can take action.

One area Contactpoint addresses as part of search engine optimisation activities for our clients is their Google My Business account. Google My Business has recently offered various features in terms of post, revised opening hours for business, events and COVID 19 Business updates that you can add to your Google My Business account.

At a time when we’re all searching for more comfort, these features allow your organisation to provide your customers with additional help. Using Events and Offers could be beneficial to your business to promote your virtual event, consultation or a training course that you may be offering.

We have also seen that posting articles via Google My Business has increased traffic and visibility for our client’s businesses. Articles can only be 2-3 paragraphs in length, and so will likely point to the full article on your website. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like some help with utilising Google My Business to promote your organisation.

Another approach to help your local SEO during this time is to tap on the power of positive reviews. Online reputation management is very important during difficult times. Going out of your way to provide virtual consultation or virtual assistance to potential or existing customers when they need it most during this COVID-19 pandemic will likely reward your business with an encouraging review.

Undertaking monthly maintenance of your website to organically improve its ranks is like exercising to lose weight. You cannot experience the advantages of exercising in the short term however if you keep at it diligently over time you see and experience the advantages. If you quit exercising you may not notice a lot of contrast in a couple of days or even a few weeks. But, to get back to being fit, after an extensive stretch of idleness is a lot harder than keeping up wellness over a similar timeframe. SEO is in many ways similar to this analogy of exercise.

If your competitors stop their SEO activities during this downturn, and you do not, it will be your competitors who are playing catch up in a few months’ time and you will be well prepared to keep your business growing.

“Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful”.
– Warren Buffet

If you are interested to learn more about how SEO strategies can help your business, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

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PPC Campaigns – how we have adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic

March 25th, 2020 by Vidhi Doshy

With the spread of COVID-19, the digital advertising landscape has changed; the first thing we noticed was people trying to exploit fear to attract more customers. But that’s not all we noticed.

We look after many of our client’s pay-per-click (‘PPC’) advertising campaigns which use one or more of the following platforms to promote their products and services: Google Ads, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. PPC campaigns can be very costly, the tools are constantly changing, and can be complex. It is important to ensure that you are advertising to the right target market, at the right time of the day, and that you point your ads to a web page or other destination that provides the best return on your click investment.

Whilst adjusting our client’s ad campaigns during this unprecedented time, we have noticed four important tactics to help you manage your paid search campaigns during the pandemic.

1. Geo-targeting

Geo-targeting may require adjustment, depending on the effects of the pandemic on your services. It is crucial to decide the area you want to target this could be states, cities, ZIP codes, or by radius. The smaller the geographic area, the smaller the estimated clicks on your ad. However, that will help to balance the relevance of the audience you intend to capture while making the most of your budget.

Bonus Tip – Consider adding negative locations. Location exclusion can allow you to prevent your ad from showing in certain parts of your targeted locations. This will help for example, if your business offers a special promotion that isn’t eligible for people in a few regions of a targeted area.

2. Review Search Behaviour & Ad Copies

While people are social distancing, they will still be researching, browsing, and planning what they can do and buy when the restrictions are lifted. They will also be potentially looking for different products and services, for right now.

We have been assisting our clients by reviewing any change in interaction levels with their ad campaigns, as well as altering their PPC campaign strategy to communicate about services that can be delivered virtually.

After carrying out extensive research using multiple keyword research solutions, we determined that the search behaviour of users has not altered drastically. People are still searching for individual products and services, on the assumption that businesses have adapted to deliver these services virtually.

We observe many advertisers adding COVID 19 in the headlines of their ads. This is unnecessary, as people are not searching for individual services along with COVID 19 related terms – people know and expect companies to adjust to the restrictions of the pandemic. Therefore, we recommend not to make any changes in the headlines, but revise the text in the ad copy description or ad extensions to communicate benefits like free delivery, online consultations, webinars, online training, zoom events instead.

3. Ad Scheduling

Ad scheduling assists with controlling spending on ads by just running advertisements on specific days and at specific times. If your business is open during definite hours, it may be wise to set advertisements to run just while you are open. However, if you sell on the web, you are constantly open and can make use of the ‘Overview’ tab to decide whether there are any times when there is a negative ROI and capitalize on specific times to increase clicks or conversions.

Given many people are working from home, the time that they are likely to be searching for your products and services may have adjusted, requiring your ad scheduling to change accordingly.

Ad Scheduling is a beneficial tool that your business can leverage to make data-driven decisions of displaying your ads during peak search times, increasing your likelihood to achieve more clicks and conversions. Use this tool to select specific days and time to derive the maximum value from your PPC budget.

4. Negative Keywords

Depending on your industry, the pandemic may have caused minor (or majors) moves in search inquiries, which could be causing your ads to appear for the wrong types of searches. To counter this situation requires a dual approach – the first is analysing historical data and the second is forecasting searches that could incorrectly trigger your ads in order to create a negative list.

We have found the following are beneficial to determine the search terms to add to a negative keyword list:

  1. Search Term Report – reviewing search terms and display campaign placements in real-time for COVID-19. If a search term isn’t relevant enough to the products or services that you offer, add it as a negative keyword. This will help keep your ad from showing to people who are looking for something that you don’t sell and help you make the most of your limited budget. For example, if you sell spectacles and you see that the search term ‘wine glasses’ is triggering your ads, you might want to add ‘wine’ as a negative keyword.
  2. Google Trends – A great resource with the latest information on search behaviour is Google Trends: Coronavirus Search Trends.

If you require any assistance to ensure that you are getting the most out of your PPC campaign spend, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re ready to help.

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Custom Intent Audiences – a powerful new way to target your audience with Pay-Per-Click ads

February 24th, 2020 by Vidhi Doshy

Launched by Google around mid-2019, and now available once you have upgraded to Google’s new Adwords Dashboard, the Custom Intent Audiences feature makes it possible for you to show your Google display ad to people who have indicated that they are interested in your product/service (rather than displaying to the whole world).

Paid Google Search Ads have always had one big advantage over Google Display Ads: intent. People only see paid search ads when they are actively searching online for a solution to a problem or an answer to a question. If your product or service answers their question or solves their problem (and you have set up your keywords right), they will hopefully see your ads, click and take action (aka ‘convert’).

Display Ads, on the other hand, are primarily used for brand awareness. That’s because, with display ads which are delivered on websites all around the ‘net (as opposed to just on the Google search engine results pages), your target audience isn’t looking for a solution to a problem they are reading someone else’s website. You’re hoping that they’ll notice your ad, realise that they have a need you can help them with, click and convert. To compensate, Display Ads can be configured in many different formats, including images of various sizes, a collection of images and videos. This is all aimed at getting the internet user’s attention.

Custom intent audiences, however, are Google’s attempt to make display ads much more relevant to the searcher. Google has previously attempted this via the use of Google Ad Re-marketing which causes your display ad to “follow you” around – this is possible by Google keeping track of which site you have been to, and presenting the ads related to that site in amongst other websites that allow Google to insert their display ads within their website. You mostly see display ads on websites such as news sites (e.g., and marketplaces (e.g.,, but you will also see display ads in amongst YouTube videos and mobile apps such as online games.

Instead of throwing ads up in a variety of places and hoping that with enough reach, a few people will respond, custom intent audiences help you put your ads in front of people who are actually looking to buy what you are selling.

Will Custom Intent Audiences Work for Your Organisation?
Ask yourself, what kind of websites will people primarily visit when they are actively looking to buy what I’m selling? While there are a lot of potential answers to that question – including forums, review websites, and other research sites? an obvious place where people go when they are interested in your product is your competitors’ websites.
We expect targeting using Custom Intent Audience is a winning strategy because it allows you to target visitors who have visited your competitors’ website.

Since most people who are interested in buying what you’re selling are probably checking out the competition too, targeting your competitors’ website addresses is a great way to build a highly targeted custom intent audience. With custom intent audiences, you can create your own audiences based on keywords and URLs related to products and services similar to what you offer. In many ways, this is beneficial for small and large businesses, but especially if you are in a small niche where neither you nor the competition has a lot of website traffic.

We are now using this for our clients and getting great results – greater numbers of ad impressions, delivering more website visitors, and increasing the click-through rate.

A word of caution – custom intent audiences won’t work for everyone. If your offer is significantly worse than your competitor’s, for example. Or if the lead time for your product or service is very short e.g. emergency/instant services required.

If you would like to brainstorm how it can be used for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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