Using real-time data to optimize your search ads and Shopping Campaigns

Thursday, October 23, 2014 |

This is the second in a series of posts on real-time advertising. Last week, we wrote about the real-time gap and how access to real-time data can positively affect online sales and results. This week, we’re writing about how real-time data can help you optimize text ads and Shopping campaigns. 


Don’t underestimate the long tail 
Retailers today often have hundreds or thousands of products, but a recent study shows they only advertise an average of 49% of their inventory with search ads. There are two main reasons for this. One is that advertisers just can’t manage millions of keywords and bids on their own. The other is that they often don’t see the value of their long-tail inventory items.

However, forgetting the long tail can mean missed opportunities. While each additional item advertised may not contribute a lot of sales on its own, aggregated sales for long-tail items can have a significant bottom-line impact.

Create and optimize Shopping Campaigns with inventory-aware campaigns 
Our customers have told us Shopping campaigns are a critical tool to automate ad creation, management, and bid optimization. Integrating with Google Merchant Center - from feed to ad creation - helps retailers be “real-time” in responding to the many seasonal assortment changes, new product launches and inventory status changes. They can afford to traffic and manage the full product catalog, without risking losing track of a promotion or out-of-stock and paying for that “ad to nowhere”. Last year Piston saw big success with inventory management, with over 50% gains in both ROAS and conversions.

Umut Dincer, The Home Depot’s Director of Online Marketing shares: “Our strong partnership with DoubleClick Search has been a great source of revenue for The Home Depot using the Google Merchant Center and Shopping campaigns to merchandize inventory.”

Organize products intelligently with Adaptive Shopping Campaigns
Beyond expanding product coverage, advertisers can also improve performance with sound product group structure. Adaptive Shopping campaigns leverage real-time conversion data to automatically change Shopping Campaign structure to optimize performance gains. When items in product groups have similar conversion rates, DoubleClick Search can assign better bids and reduce inefficiencies in spend.

By looking at advertiser data, we found, for example, that 90% of the median advertiser’s Shopping campaign cost came from only 9.5% of its products.* Often, it turned out, advertisers were lumping high-performance products into product groups with other, lower-converting products. The end result: bids that were too low for their top-selling products and bids that were too high for their lower-revenue items.

Andrea Bywater, Marketing Coordinator of Paid Search at BuildDirect says, “Adaptive shopping campaigns will be incredibly helpful in grouping ‘winning’ SKUs together—especially when things get busier with the holidays, and with Black Friday around the corner. Not only will this save time; it’ll help us save money on products with lower conversion rates.”

Link purchases to ads with Purchase detail reports 
A third way for retailers to increase their advertising efficiencies with real-time data is to allow them to connect their ads with product sales. Linking ads and sales used to be a complex task requiring deep analysis and a lot of data. As a result, advertisers often skipped over this analysis, missing out on key insights like which keywords sold which products. We designed Purchase detail reports to meet this customer need.

Purchase detail reports help advertisers:
  • Identify the impact of advertising on business goals like maximizing profitability or selling off inventory
  • Improve ad targeting by matching ads to products that consumers are most interested in
  • Understand the value of brand and general terms in selling your highest margin or most important products
Justin Johnson, Paid Search Manager at Cabela’s explains, “Having insights into where we spend our money, in addition to what people are looking for, has been invaluable in helping us make better decisions. We have a better look into where we may not have adequate coverage, and are able to quickly make changes to address that. Being able to pull in margin data to see if certain keywords are better or worse at driving profitable traffic than we anticipated helps us be more thoughtful with our spend.”

Real-time in real life 
In the next edition we’ll shift our focus to a real-time use case: smartphone launches. We’ll have a look at how real-time capabilities make a difference on big sales days, where competition and volatility are high.

*DoubleClick Search internal data, 2014

DoubleClick Search URL Change

Thursday, October 16, 2014 |

To better align with other solutions in the DoubleClick Digital Marketing (DDM) platform, we’re moving DoubleClick Search (DS) from https://www.google.com/doubleclick/search to https://ddm.google.com/search.

Over the coming weeks you may notice that you’re automatically redirected to the new URL when hopping into DS. When this happens you may receive a message that informs you about the redirect and encourages you to update your bookmarks. It’s important to note that DS user credentials will continue to work as expected and existing bookmarks/saved links will redirect to the new URL.

Reach out to your DoubleClick Search representative or our support team at ds-support@google.com with any questions.

DS Features in September

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 |


In September, we added the following features to DoubleClick Search (DS):

  • Adaptive Shopping campaigns: DS can monitor the performance of products in your Shopping campaigns and automatically subdivide existing product groups to give individual bids to the SKUs that drive most of your traffic. Product groups give a single bid to ads for all the products covered by the group, even if those products have varying performance. This feature helps you achieve better performance by automatically refining your product groups to focus on products with similar performance. You can then set manual bids or use a bid strategy to provide a bid on these groups.  Learn more.


  • Create and apply URL templates: If you use a common set of query strings or a common redirection URL for the keyword landing pages in an engine account, you can now create a URL template and apply it to your keywords. In addition to saving time and ensuring accuracy, using a URL template simplifies landing page URLs so you can quickly scan your keywords and see where they’re supposed to land. Learn more.


  • Upload availability timestamps using bulksheets: To optimize bid strategies that target offline conversions, you can indicate which Floodlight activities track offline conversions. If no conversions have occurred for a period of time, you can use bulksheets to indicate whether the lack of data means that no conversions have occurred or that you haven’t uploaded the data yet. Learn more.


We also updated the following feature:


  • Executive Reports now include a Total row in tables that display segmented data: DS will add a Total row to the bottom of the table when you create or edit a table in an executive report. The Total row is displayed if the table includes at least one segment.





Watch the recorded webinar for September features to see these updates in action.

Posted by the DoubleClick Search team

The real-time gap and what it means for retail search marketers

Understanding retailers and their relationship to real-time 
In a recent post, we announced a study we ran with Forrester to understand how retailers were leveraging real-time data in their online advertising efforts. What we learned was that they believe real-time data presents both opportunities and challenges. Retailers see the potential for including this type of data in their campaigns, but they also think it can be too much work to respond to changes that can come and go in an instant.

DoubleClick Search makes real-time easy 
At DoubleClick Search, we want to make it easy to integrate real-time data into your campaigns. We’ve worked hard to build tools that give you the data you need to make quick decisions for your business. We also want to make your campaign optimization easy and automated, so you don’t need hours of planning to respond to sudden changes in demand.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share stories of how advertisers are using real-time data to reach customers in their time of need, faster. This first post in our series is on the real-time gap and how DoubleClick Search helps you to bridge it. The “real-time gap” is the difference between retailers’ current SEM practices and their best possible performance.

Fact: Real-time data is important 
Any number of factors can affect consumer demand for your products and services—many of which are unpredictable. Heat waves and cold snaps appear unannounced, fashion trends crop up, and wild card sports teams make it into the playoffs. From weather concerns to new shoes to baseball playoffs, search queries give marketers insight into what matters most to people in a specific moment. And with today’s proliferation of smartphones and tablets, consumers search all day, every day, providing real-time data on what’s happening right now.

Barriers to adoption for real-time data 
If real-time data is so important, you would think that all retailers would integrate it into their campaigns, but it turns out there are a few common barriers to adoption.

First, many retailers believe it takes too much time and energy to respond to unplanned events. One respondent in our Forrester study explained: “I’m sure there are quick wins to be had. But we don’t have the experience or manpower needed to chase everything.” Another said, “I have so many demands on my time, managing for something unexpected isn’t convenient for me.”

Retailers also need to re-think what’s “good enough” when it comes to speed and real time feedback. Our Forrester research shows that only 20% of retailers have access to real-time click and conversion data, and that over half do not see data updated for a week. Despite this reality, 84% of these retailers who consider driving sales as a goal feel their marketing programs are either “effective” or “very effective” at achieving their goals. But, data received once a day (or even less frequently) means there are unlimited missed opportunities to capture revenue, brand awareness, or reduce cost. 



DoubleClick Search makes real-time easy
We want to make it easy to collect and act on real-time data. Our smart bid optimization understands your goals, gets conversion information in real-time, and adjusts bids multiple times per day to meet those goals. And with conversion data from all channels, delivered in real-time, DoubleClick Search can react quickly to changing market conditions by optimizing based on real-time attributed conversion data.

Real-time data in action
Here’s just one example of how real-time data can positively affect sales. This is an excerpt from a recent iProspect report.

The chart below shows how one of iProspect’s clients, a top luxury apparel brand (let’s call it Brand X), looked to real-time data and execution to maximize its marketing during a busy shopping season. Brand X holds a highly anticipated three-day sale twice per year. In 2012, it used an SEM platform that did not offer real-time conversion insights or intra-day bidding. A year later, when it switched to DoubleClick Search, a tool that reacted more quickly, the difference was immense. The overall result: the company more than tripled revenue on the first day of the promotion year over year while decreasing cost per clicks (CPCs) by over 60%. 

Three-day Promotion: Better Results With Real Time 

Source: iProspect proprietary data 

Your partner for real-time data
At DoubleClick search, we want to be your partner in delivering real-time data to improve your advertising performance. In our next post in the series, we’ll talk about how retailers are taking advantage of real-time data to optimize text ads and Shopping Campaigns for their products.

Whip your seasonal campaigns into shape: Four “knead to know” tips for search marketers

Monday, October 6, 2014 |

A pinch of salt, a dash of sugar...and a handful of data analysis? 

We all know baking is a huge part of the holidays. But amidst the hustle and bustle of planning scrumptious menus for friends and family, as a marketer you’re also juggling fleeting promotions, revising stale ads and trying to balance your budget — all in hopes of reaching holiday shoppers at the moment they’re looking to buy. So how do you avoid those half-baked campaigns during one of the busiest times of the year?

This season, we wanted to share a few of our favorite tools to whip your digital strategy into shape and help you make your holiday promotions a piece of cake. With the right ingredients to scale and streamline your seasonal campaigns, you can find some extra time to sit back and enjoy your perfectly baked holiday pastries — while we take care of the rest.

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1. Whip up new opportunities in an instant with real-time reporting and optimization
We get it. The holidays are busy, and you often find yourself running out of time — both in the kitchen and with your digital marketing. Forget the manual, hand-churned methods of the past that can leave your campaign results as stale as last year’s fruitcake. This year, turbocharge your campaigns with up-to-the-minute reporting and optimization in DoubleClick™ Search. We’ll whip up performance and conversion metrics as they happen, so you get a real-time view into how your campaigns are performing. Then we’ll use that near-instant conversion data to update bids throughout the day, —helping you get an ROI the size of a holiday feast.
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2. Handle on-the-go customers with mobile bid modifiers
As a master cook, you’re moving around non-stop during the holidays — and so are your customers. But as they’re searching for deals and checking them twice across screens, how do you set the right bids to showcase your hottest products to your most eager prospects — wherever they are? Mobile bid modifiers in DoubleClick Search help you adjust campaign bids to maximize performance for mobile searches. Ready to make your holidays a multiscreen event this year? We’ll raise a glass of eggnog to that!
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3. Find the right recipe with adaptive Shopping campaigns
Your digital marketing, much like your cooking, might need some extra help during the busy holidays. Take your go-to recipe from good to great by spicing it up with something special. This year, that secret ingredient can be adaptive Shopping campaigns, which ensures that your Shopping campaign structure is optimized to perform its very best. Adaptive Shopping campaigns dynamically optimize your Shopping campaign structure, based on product performance. That means you’ll set the right bids for your high-performing products, as well as save money on bids for low-performing products. And the best part? It’s all automatic, so you won’t have to make it from scratch.
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4. Measure your product sales with purchase detail reports
Proper measurement is one of the most important parts of cooking up an impactful campaign. Especially during the busy holiday season, trying to mix and match different reports can have you feeling like Scrooge. We’ll help your campaigns rise to the occasion this year with purchase detail reports for smarter product-centric measurement. Get clear visibility into the products consumers purchase, as well as the ads that drive those sales. Customize and report on your individual product sales by any product attribute—such as color, size and style—and do it for any type of campaign, including text, Shopping, and on AdWords™ or Bing.

Ready for more holiday treats? Tune in to the DoubleClick Advertisers blog tomorrow for even more tips for media agencies, or sign up for our newsletter for regular updates: http://goo.gl/p03ZMS

Forrester Report: A Faster Pace for Retail Paid Search

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 |

The real-time imperative 
Real-time matters in retail search because external events continuously affect demand. Whether planned events like Black Friday, or unplanned ones like the next big snow day, campaigns that were optimized for demand are suddenly altered by new market realities. The speed at which a retailer’s search management tool can “see” the new behavior and adapt to it will help to determine how successful campaigns are over time, and because events can shift quickly, speed is ever-more important for success.

We know how important it is for our retailers to be running profitable campaigns with a minimum of ongoing manual effort. It’s why we’ve consistently invested in tools to be faster. From instant conversion data and intra-day bidding to integration with Google Merchant Center for ad creation and management, we’re committed to developing tools to support speed in search.

Understanding how retailers use real-time 
Today, in partnership with Forrester, we’re launching a study that shows how retailers access and use real-time tools to stay ahead in the digital game.

What we found was… opportunity 
According to Forrester’s survey, only 20% of retail search marketers have access to real-time conversion data, and less than half can see conversions before the next business day.


In addition to response times, we found that, on average, marketers are only able to merchandize about half their inventory in search ads, even though long-tail products can represent a significant revenue opportunity.

Get the full report
For all the results, along with Forrester’s recommendations for retail search success, check out the full report at Think with Google. To get the latest research, communications and case studies from DoubleClick, sign up for one of our newsletters.

DS features in August

Monday, September 15, 2014 |

In August, we added the following features to DoubleClick Search (DS):

  • Add and manage users in DS: DS agency managers can now add users, remove users, and change user permissions right in DoubleClick Search. Learn more.
  • Optimize bid strategies that target offline conversions: If you include offline conversions in your bid strategies, you can now improve performance by indicating which Floodlight activities primarily track offline conversions. If no conversions have occurred for a period of time, you can send an availability timestamp to clarify whether the lack of data means that no conversions have occurred or that you haven’t uploaded the data yet. Learn more.
  • Use the DS reporting API to download sitelink reports: You can use the reporting API to download reports containing metrics for AdWords sitelinks. For example, you can download a report that shows the number of clicks, impressions, and other data for each sitelink in an ad group or campaign. Learn more.
  • Quantity columns from Google Analytics and Floodlight activities: To report on the number of items in transactions recorded by Google Analytics and Floodlight activities, you can now add the GA quantity, Action quantity, and Transaction quantity columns to DS reporting tables. You can also use these columns in formula columns.

Watch the recorded webinar for August features to see these updates in action.

Posted by the DoubleClick Search team