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To make the greatest impact, you need to know where to focus your efforts

Maria is a Microsoft employee for approximately a year and half. Prior to that, she was part the Adobe in-house team. She discusses page search’s evolution and what it means for brands and advertisers in her SMX Next 2022 session. These tools have simplified bidding and campaign optimization so that page search managers can focus on more important tasks. The question is how trust can be placed on the bidding algorithms, data uploaded and automation done by these tools. This has led to the need for page search managers to find new ways to add value to the company and prove their worth.

Corcoran says that one area where page search managers can add value is by spending their time on high-impact items and deeper analysis to drive insights that other channels cannot provide. This involves understanding keywords and phrases people search for, and then using that information to help businesses focus their efforts. Page search managers can also add value by testing. They can determine the impact of the tests on the bottom line, prioritizing them over other channels.

It’s important for pagesearch managers to assess the KPIs and see how they fit in the page search funnel. This could include resolving any mandates from stakeholders or ensuring that KPIs are in line with business goals. The presentation will cover various topics related to testing, including new features and opportunities, the impact of tests, and the priorities of other channels.

Testing at Microsoft

A testing planning sheet was devised at Microsoft to prioritize tests based on their impact on the bottom line. This sheet contained information about the quarter where the test would be conducted, the channel in which it would run, the test and learning category, as well as a description of what the test was, the type and timing of reporting, the expected performance impact and an estimated budget. The sheet also includes the business opportunity that the test is aiming to achieve, beyond the actual hypothesis.

Corcoran says this type of information was presented to stakeholders to ensure that the testing approach is well thought out and takes into account the impact on the bottom line. As all channels and tests are aimed at improving the bottom line, the testing planning sheet can help you find the right balance. The focus is on providing a comprehensive understanding of the test, including the business opportunity and the expected impact, rather than just a hypothesis.

Impact and outcome

The expected impact is a crucial aspect of testing, as it outlines the goals and objectives of the test. The expected impact of running an Excel test for free is to get users to try the free version, then convert them into active monthly users and finally upsell them to the paid version. The learning questions for the test include understanding the cost per monthly user, whether the free keywords will result in any paid subscriptions, and other related questions.

The approach for the test involves laying out the keywords, ads, landing pages, and deployment strategies. Campaign information contains the campaign details, including the flight dates, keywords themes, market types, devices, and landing pages. It is important to be specific about the targeting and to consider regional holidays, promos, and localization when laying out the test approach.

Finally, the measurement approach is crucial, as it outlines the primary KPI for success, the optimization metric, and the goals of the test. The optimization metric should be aligned with the KPI goal. It should also be something that can be used in the bidding algorithms. The primary KPI for success should be identified, but it is okay if it is not met, as this goes into the learning questions bucket.

Corcoran continues explaining that the success of the test needs to be defined and any potential roadblocks or considerations should be taken into account. Stakeholders should also be informed about the reporting schedule. Regular reports should be sent to stakeholders that include historical and trending data as well as KPIs.

A wrap-up report should also be given to stakeholders at the end of each test. It should include the primary goal and the results. If it was not, what were the surprising results? You should include insights such as which engine performed better than others, which device type performed best, and which keyword/product theme produced better results. If a test fails to meet its success criteria, the team can analyze the data and decide how to proceed. This could include making the test an evergreen campaign, or changing the KPI reporting to decrease delays. Information about the landing page, ads and verbiage used in the test should be given to the team. The presentation will also touch upon various new ad types, including Performance Max.

Additional testing

Corcoran discusses various other strategies and considerations for ad testing in the digital marketing world. Performance Max is a type that can be run across multiple channels such as YouTube, display and Gmail. However, it raises questions about cross-channel tracking and implications. She also discusses Responsive Search Ads and how to test ad copy and company branding when creating RSA campaigns. Corcoran also touches on landing page testing and emphasizes the importance of making clear and significant changes to landing pages rather than just minor adjustments.

Key takeaways

It is also important to always take into account the performance of other channels. Is a landing page testing done? Does this relate to paid media? It may be performing well online, but paid traffic might only need one click to purchase. This is particularly true for bottom funnel strategies.

When it comes to campaign maintenance, it is crucial that the messaging is consistent and there are opportunities for quarterly growth. This will help you to define your business objectives, funding source and target audience. It also helps to outline messaging, landing pages, KPIs, messaging, keywords themes, messaging, landing page, and messaging. This will ensure that campaigns run smoothly and the strategy is concise. You can do this by creating a keyword matrix that outlines brand keywords, messaging and landing pages. The data should also be reported and optimized correctly, and there should not be any delays between reporting and optimization.

When looking at data, it is important to consider the impact of different markets, product themes, devices, and seasonality. You can do this by looking at the sales funnel metrics, such as demand generation and conversion, and then examining the impact data slicing on those metrics.

An example is analyzing the performance of different product categories year over year to identify growth or decline opportunities. The same can be done for funnel intent, such as conversion, consideration, and awareness, and this information can then be used to optimize and categorize different intentions.

Finally, a high-level view of performance can be created by combining keyword themes, regional themes, and all-up performance into one chart. This is a great tool for stakeholders to see the performance at a high-level.

Watch Maria Corcoran’s session at SMX Next 202022 You can still view the session


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