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

DoubleClick Search Academy: Make the grade with customized, self-paced training

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 |

Last week, we shared some digital marketing flashcards to help you go back to school, DoubleClick style (Take a look at our day 1day 2day 3day 4, and day 5 flashcards).

Today, we're helping you further your DoubleClick Search education by introducing DoubleClick Search Academy, an easy-to-use, self-paced learning path designed to guide you through core DoubleClick Search online help and training courses -- based on your role and how you use the tool.

We’ve heard from users that they need more customized learning based on how they use DoubleClick products. If you’re a trafficker, you might need a broad understanding ranging from the basics all the way to advanced features to maximize search campaign performance. If you’re an analyst, you might not need to know all the details a planner might be responsible for, but you might still like to know how conversion data is tracked and how to monitor day-to-day performance for reporting insights.

DoubleClick Search Academy includes these checklists:
  • Basics for new users: Understand the benefits of a search engine management tool using our core curriculum, including DoubleClick Search Fundamentals eLearning and certification.
  • Implementation guide: Learn how to implement a new DS account and launch a basic campaign.
  • QA and troubleshooting: It’s not shop class, but you’ll learn all about QA’ing tags, troubleshooting common Floodlight tag issues, and more.
  • Advanced topics: Become an expert by learning about advanced DS integrations and topics. Learn about formula columns, shopping campaigns, bid strategies, inventory-aware campaigns, and executive reporting.
Since DoubleClick Search Academy covers a lot of material, we’ve set it up in checklist format so you can track progress by checking the boxes at the end of each step. Your progress will be saved so if you have to take a break, you can come back anytime and pick up where you left off.

Whether you’re a freshman trafficker adjusting your search marketing beanie, an analyst on the Dean’s list, or a planner feeling like a 5th year student, you can find customized training based on your role to help you ace DoubleClick Search.

Go for extra credit and sign up to receive DoubleClick training updates in your inbox.

Posted by Justine Thomas, DoubleClick Search Product Trainer

Advertisers see Shopping campaign success with new optimization, reporting tools from the DoubleClick Search Commerce Suite

Thursday, August 28, 2014 |

In March, we introduced Shopping campaigns support in DoubleClick Search, offering a simpler, more flexible way for retailers to manage their Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Thanks to these tools, advertisers have already seen success with Shopping campaigns. As Casandra Jones, Associate Director at iProspect, says: “It’s been incredibly helpful having DoubleClick Search be first to market with a solution for Shopping campaigns. We were able to transition to Shopping campaigns more quickly and determine best practices that work for our brands -- giving us a competitive edge, long before the majority of retailers hit the market.”

Since then, we’ve been focused on building solutions with the scale and speed you need to capture every retail opportunity. Now, we’re excited to announce three new tools from the DoubleClick Search Commerce Suite to help make your reporting and optimization even easier. Below, we’ll unpack these features by highlighting the what, the why, and how customers are using our solutions today.

Automated campaign optimization with adaptive Shopping campaigns


What: Adaptive Shopping campaigns is a new way to dynamically create and optimize your Shopping campaign structure, based on product performance. Native integration with Google Merchant Center means we’ll monitor your feed and automatically subdivide existing product groups by product ID, based on the conversion rates of the products in each group.

Why: We’ve found that 90% of the median advertiser’s cost comes from only 9.5% of its products(1). However, advertisers often lump these high-spend products into bid groups with other, lower-converting products -- leading to bid values that are not optimized, based on relative performance. Adaptive Shopping campaigns ensure your most popular SKUs get the right bid by creating product groups for each item earning high traffic.

What do customers think? Andrea Bywater, Marketing Coordinator of Paid Search at BuildDirect, says: “Using adaptive shopping campaigns will be incredibly helpful in helping us group ‘winning’ SKUs together -- especially when things get even busier with the holidays and Black Friday just around the corner. Not only will this be more effective in saving time; it’ll also help us save money on products with lower conversion rates.”

Smarter, faster bid optimization for Shopping campaigns


What: Earlier this month, we rolled out bid optimization for Shopping campaigns -- giving you the ability to extend the same powerful bidding algorithms from our Performance Bidding Suite to your Shopping campaigns, with smarter bidding based on near real-time data.

Why: We know bid optimization can make or break campaign results. Bidding strategies need to be flexible enough to meet your business objectives, while algorithms need to be fast enough to act quickly in a competitive landscape. With bid optimization for Shopping campaigns, you can:

  • Easily define your goals -- setting individual bid strategies, or combining different strategies, just as you do with your DoubleClick Search text ads.
  • Target precisely and efficiently by setting Shopping campaign bid strategies on campaigns, ad groups, or even product groups.
  • Reach shoppers on the go by automatically setting a mobile bid modifier.

And as with the rest of your bids, bid optimization for Shopping campaigns benefit from up-to-the-minute conversion data. This means you can use fresher data to more closely track to your promotion goals -- even during the busiest marketing days.

What do customers think? Ashlee Wiltshire, Analytics & Technology Account Manager at Performics, recently helped her team implement Shopping campaign bid strategies for several of their key retail clients. Wiltshire says: “Within two weeks, we've seen CPCs come down 11.2% and ROAS improve by 3.4%. It's also freed up a lot of the teams’ time, and as a result we’re able to build out more granular campaigns without worrying about manually updating bids."

Better transaction insights with purchase detail reports (beta)


What: Purchase detail reports (currently in beta) let you better understand the products consumers purchased, and the ads that drove those sales. Once you specify the products sold in a transaction using the DoubleClick floodlight tag, you can customize and report on specific product sales by any attribute, including color, size, product line, and style. Best of all, these reports are available for any type of campaign -- whether that’s text, Shopping, on AdWords or on Bing.

Why: With ever-changing shifts in seasons and trends, retailers often focus on selling a certain products at a given time. Fashion advertisers, for example, need to sell the latest styles before they fall out of favor. In the past, figuring out if your search advertising actually lead to these product sales has been complex -- requiring lots of time and effort in reporting analysis. Purchase detail reports give granular transaction details for better insights into your campaign performance:

  • Identify the impact of your advertising on achieving core business goals like maximizing profitability or selling off inventory.
  • Improve ad targeting by matching ads to the products that consumers are most interested in purchasing.
  • Understand the real value of brand and general terms in selling your highest margin or most important products.

What do customers think? Justin Johnson, Paid Search Manager at Cabela’s, says: “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. With this data, 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 actually better or worse at driving profitable traffic than we anticipated helps us be more thoughtful with our spending.”

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

To learn more about upcoming DoubleClick Search Commerce Suite developments in easy workflows, insightful reporting, and smarter optimization, stay tuned to the DoubleClick Search blog, sign up for our newsletter, or follow us on Google+.

1. DoubleClick Search internal data, 2014

DS features in July

Thursday, August 14, 2014 |


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

  • Attribution models: You can now choose from one of several multi-channel, pre-defined attribution models or models authored in DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM).  An attribution model determines the method of distributing credit for a conversion among all of the activity in a conversion funnel. The information is reported in DoubleClick Search Floodlight columns. Learn more about selecting an attribution model.
  • Executive Reports: Combined mixed bar and line charts: You can now compare metrics and trends in a single chart in Executive Reports. One metric will display as bars and another metric as a line. Learn more.
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  • Optimize Shopping campaigns using bid strategies: You can now apply ROI bid strategies to Shopping campaigns as well as individual product groups. You can even use the same bid strategy to manage bidding for both keywords and product groups and let DS determine the best bid for reaching your ROI goals. Learn more.
  • Sign in to multiple Google accounts: If you use different Google accounts to access different agencies or advertisers within DoubleClick Search (DS), you can sign in to multiple accounts in the same browser window. This allows you to quickly switch between accounts or use different accounts at the same time. Learn more.


    We also updated the following features:
    • Enhanced Bing Ads support
      • Exclude locations:  To give you more control over where your Bing Ads display, you can now exclude locations from a Bing Ads campaign or ad group in the DoubleClick Search user interface or by bulksheet. 
      • Radius targets: You can use DoubleClick Search to remove radius targets that were added in Bing Ads. DS will remove the radius targets when it traffics the change to Bing Ads. Learn more.
    • Richer data analysis using the DoubleClick Search API
      • Report on product groups: You can view performance metrics and settings for your Shopping campaign product groups by using the DS Reporting API.
      • Attribute offline conversions to Shopping campaigns: You can use the DS API to attribute offline conversions to the right Shopping campaign ad and corresponding keyword, product target, or product group. Learn more about uploading offline conversions.
    • Yahoo! Japan device targeting removed:  DoubleClick Search has removed device-targeting settings from Yahoo! JAPAN campaigns, both in the user interface and in bulksheets, because Yahoo! Japan no longer supports the ability to specifically target tablets and other mobile devices. You can still use mobile bid adjustments to adjust bids for ads on mobile devices such as laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones.

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

    Posted by the DoubleClick Search team

    Valuing Website Metrics: Introducing Bid Optimization Support for Google Analytics Goals in DoubleClick Search

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014 |

    As part of our mission to offer the most actionable data and reporting, from all sources, DoubleClick Search lets you report on Google Analytics goals. You may not know that we also have the capability to use Google Analytics Goals as targets for DoubleClick Search bid-strategies. When you create a bid strategy in the Doubleclick Search Performance Bidding Suite, you can optimize to conversions and revenue based on Google Analytics goals and transactions. This feature extends the flexibility of DS bid strategies, which already support optimization to Floodlight activities and formula columns. This release also extends bid optimization support to goals based on site analytics metrics such as pages per visit and visit duration.

    Make better decisions based on user behavior insights 
    Google Analytics goals make it possible to have user behavior prior to purchase drive your bidding decisions. Conversion windows vary by vertical. Some customers finalize their purchases/actions within minutes or hours, while other customers may take days, weeks or even months to research before converting. If you understand the propensity of a user to convert based on their session behavior, you can bid more for keywords that drive higher quality customers. This is where site analytics data comes in as it provides useful post click data such as "users from ad group X spend an average of 5 minutes on the site after clicking".

    Our Google Analytics integration gives you access to powerful new metrics to enhance bid optimization and create custom models that not only include the final conversion but also values keywords that lead to pre-conversion user behaviors including time on site, pages viewed, etc. 

    Getting started with Google Analytics goals 
    Getting started with Google Analytics goals & DoubleClick Search bid-strategies is simple. They work in the same way as the DoubleClick Floodlight-targeted bid strategies you are already familiar with. Just create a new bid strategy using the wizard and select Conversions, Revenue, or Advanced targeting as the goal. Then Google Analytics can be selected as a conversion source (shown below).



    If you want to mix Floodlight Tags and Google Analytics Goals in the same bid-strategy, first define the relative value of the Tags and Goal inside the formula column. For example, suppose you wanted a ROAS strategy for your travel agency. Your main objective is to drive revenue from ticket and package sales, but you value a user spending 10 minutes reading about vacation packages at $1.50 since you expect they will return later to buy. The following formula column would capture this valuation:

    FL_ticket_revenue + FL_package_revenue + to_money(1.50 * GA_10_minute_session) 

    In the above formula: FL=Floodlight, GA=Google Analytics

    Once you've created this formula columns, create a new bid strategy, in step 2 select the conversion source to be "formula column". If you haven’t linked your Google analytics account with DS, you can find a step by step guide here. If you are interested in using the site analytics level goals, please follow the guide here (note: you only need to complete Step 1: Transferring Property). To learn more about DS bid-strategies and Google Analytics integration, please check out our help center article.

    Success with DS: Custom Floodlight Variables and Reporting

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014 |

    Back in May we launched custom Floodlight variables (CFVs) in DoubleClick Search. CFVs allow you to track and report on non-PII user activity associated with conversions. If you use Floodlight tags to track conversions, you can now leverage CFV data in your DoubleClick Search reports.

    CFVs can be either metrics or dimensions. Metrics reflect numeric data and dimensions reflect alphanumeric or numeric strings. Let’s say that I represent a bank and created a metric to capture the number of credit card sign ups and a dimension to track different credit card types, such as cc gold, cc silver...etc. With both metric and dimension data in DoubleClick Search I’m able to analyze the number of sign ups for each credit card type and make decisions about how to allocate the bank’s advertising budget.
    Once CFVs are available in DoubleClick Search you can include CFV metrics in Floodlight columns and/or filter results by CFV dimensions. For example, I may want to see the number of credit card sign ups for a specific Floodlight tag and credit card type, such as “CC Gold”. For more info, please refer to this article.



    For views containing Floodlight data, such as Actions, Transactions, or Floodlight columns, you can report on CFV dimensions using segmentation or dimension grouping. For example, I may want to understand how the different credit card types are performing across ad groups within a campaign. Segmenting a report by a CFV dimension will return a row with each ad group and CFV dimension value combination (e.g. one row for ad group #1 and cc gold & one row for ad group #1 and cc silver). If instead I want an aggregated view of CFV dimension data, I can select the CFV dimension from the Dimensions tab. This will return a row with data for each CFV dimension value (e.g. one row for cc gold & one row for cc silver).    


    To take advantage of this feature you’ll need to take the following steps:
    1. Create CFVs in DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM). More info.
    2. Add the CFVS to the Floodlight tags on your website. More info.
    3. Set up CFVs within the Advertiser Settings section in DS. More info.

    We encourage you to give CFVs a whirl and share your feedback and findings with your DS account management team.