The expanding universe of paid search: How Google's Universal Analytics can boost marketing campaigns
Alan Reeves, paid search director at Click Consult, explains why Universal Analytics could make a world of difference to the success of your next marketing campaign…
In April 2014, after a year in public beta, google officially launched Universal Analytics: the most radical upgrade of their Google Analytics product ever.
I, personally, have been a little surprised at the lack of buzz that has accompanied this truly gamechanging moment. Perhaps the fact that Universal Analytics was available in public beta for 12 months prior to launch means that many people have already developed a basic understanding of the new free software and don’t feel the need to rush into upgrading their classic Google Analytics account.
While the ‘classic’ version will be supported for two more years, at Click Consult, we are strongly recommending that all our clients upgrade to Universal Analytics as soon as possible. Don’t wait two years. Don’t wait two weeks. All the functionality
of Google Analytics is present in the new version, plus Universal Analytics includes a growing list of new features that will only get longer.
At Click, as an added incentive for our clients, we’ve been simultaneously
implementing Google Tag Manager for those who upgrade. This provides clients with greater flexibility and the ability to add extra tracking code to their site on demand without the need for a web developer.
Universal Analytics is Google’s response to a world where the web is much more than a bunch of sites accessed from a desktop computer. The new software allows companies and brands to collate information on user behaviour across a range of platforms and web-enabled devices, from smartphones and tablets to point-of-sale
systems, creating a watershed moment in the ability to track cross device conversions.
The fact that Universal Analytics allows you to upload your own offline data through its measurement protocol is also highly significant and means that it can be used as more than simply an online analytics tool. The ability to accommodate layers of extra information (such as insights from your own CRM system) means that the potential for innovation is practically unlimited. If you have data, for example, on lifetime value or profit margins or anything you like, all you need to do is to link the data to an existing dimension in Universal Analytics and then it will be appear alongside your online data.
At Click, we partner with DoubleClick Search to help us optimise our clients’ bid management in paid search campaigns. The cutting-edge software allows us to make decisions at a macro level and provides the tools to implement the changes at a micro level.
Its ability to continuously monitor millions of keywords across multiple date ranges simultaneously lets us unearth valuable insights, for example, information relating to long-tail keywords that would be impossible to discover manually.
This microscopic level of data analysis becomes even more important with tools such as Universal Analytics providing more information than ever. Utilising this information to uncover actionable insights is where the real benefit lies.
The end result of our approach is not just relevant, personalised content and offers for the end-user, it’s also a highly cost-efficient and effective way for advertisers to target their available advertising budget to their best advantage.
As paid search director at Click, I’m responsible for ensuring the growth, profitability, delivery and quality of our PPC (paid search and display advertising) services and of our conversion rate optimisation service (including data analytics).
I’m also heavily involved in making sure that the paid search strategy we enact on behalf of clients stays closely aligned with their commercial objectives: an approach that has seen Click achieve real success for ecommerce brands and specialist suppliers such as Hill’s Pet, Europe’s market leader in prescription pet food.
The great thing about paid search is that, because it is so agile and measurable,
anyone new to search marketing (or a company or brand entering a new territory
for the first time) can test the water with a relatively short, highly-focused campaign to accurately gauge the ROI that a larger, longer-term campaign might deliver.
I’ve spent practically my entire career working in search marketing and I believe that, once the SME market has caught up with the technology that Google has made available for free, Universal Analytics will be at the heart of a whole new age of digital marketing.
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