What Now For Google +Post Ads

In December 2013 Google announced that they would be rolling out +Post ads, ie. Google Plus posts served on the Google Display Network and there hasn’t been much about it since.

However people are noticing social metrics column data appearing in AdWords of late and this links directly back to +Post ads. Does this mean that we are likely to see +post ads in the wild soon?

google plus adwords social metrics

Google had allowed advertisers to sign up to the beta trial of +Post Ads and despite the form not leading to a ‘thank you‘ page on submission ( so you don’t know if your application was successful or it if errored out), the site did a job in explaining the new product.

A World Wide News Feed

As +Post Ads are displayed on the wider Google Display network and outside of the social media platform itself, it allows for far greater reach and audiences (Google Plus is a little barren). In essence it will turn the entire Web, well those websites with the appropriate adSense tags, into a readily updated social media news feed.

So not only is Google Plus a good thing to keep updated for your SEO efforts, it could ultimately encourage people to actively join and use the social network by exposing millions of people to good content on the display network.

It’s a shrewd move by Google to get the advertisers on board as a way to attract more active users and to monetise the platform. The integration with AdWords, as are being seen around the web, is the first indication that +Post Ads will be coming to a website near you shortly.

Tasty News for Google Menu Results

Google Officially launched Menu Results on the SERP in the US today. The result shows a series of food items, subdivided into different categories.

From a commercial point of view, the price of each item is also included as is the location of the establishment. As price, location and menu variety will be the determining factors in how condoners decide on an eatery, this information is essential.

Alongside Google Maps, this is another example of Google bridging offline bricks & mortar operations with online consumer search behaviour.

Google Menus

While the secret sauce hasn’t been revealed just yet, there are numerous suggestions as to where the data is pulled from. Some sources are saying menu data is being fed, pardon the pun,  to Google from a third-party vendor (as happens with Google Weather). Others are suggesting it could be taken from the schema mark-up like Menu or servesCuisine. Looking closely at the results, schema seems unlikely because of the taxonomy of the menu categorisation on the SERP, so it’s most likely a third party feed (unintended pun).

The Market is Hungry

What should be noted, is that 67% of all people surveyed in the 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast indicated that they have searched for a place to eat on a mobile or tablet device. This trend further confirms the integration of local searching on portable devices as a key component in the consumer purchase cycle.

As we all know, people are itinerantly lazy and if they’re unsure of where to go, online intent-based search activity is the most efficient and effective way to find what they want.

So What’s the Catch?

It doesn’t look like a paid AdWords product, but the long and short of it suggests that it’s not going to be free.  If Google is working with a third-party vendor, it could mean that restaurateurs will have to subscribe to these third-party sites in order to have their menus appear on the SERP.

Google Menu Results

If this is the case, what’s in it for Google? Only time will tell but for now let’s just say it could be better search experience..or a potential AdWords integration, ie. Restaurant Campaigns or Menu Extensions.

Of course this could be a B to B to C paid product operated adSense style through the third party. Who knows?

Getting the Most Out of Retargeting

Retargeting is one of the black arts of digital media. It promises great things and makes sense in terms of conversion/revenue recovery if deployed correctly. This post outlines two audiences I find particularly receptive to retargeting for conversions and revenue generation.

Retargeting Abandoners

From experience retargeting non-converting visitors of the home page, inner page or campaign landing page rarely works. There has to be some interaction with the conversion on the users’ side, ie. they have to add and item to the cart, part fill out the conversion form or navigate partially through the checkout for retargeting to be most effective.

In essence, visitors must to have expressed a real interest and considered the conversion/purchase at some point by taking action to partially complete the process. A click-through from the SERP, display ad or social media post is rarely enough to place these people into the potential purchasers set. Many of these people are merely window shopping.

Deep Funnel Retargeting

By retargeting people who entered the funnel but didn’t follow through with a transaction or sign-up, we can effectively recover a portion of cart abandoners at a higher conversion rate than any other custom audience.

This is the most effective use of media spend, especially when we consider that between 67.89% of all carts are abandoned. These are the people most likely to convert if pushed to do so via correctly retargeted messaging, therefore recovering the revenue lost via abandonment.

Existing Customer CRM

Another valuable audience to consider are those people who have purchased from your site or converted in some other way. These people can be retargeted as per the conditions of your CRM program, eg. to join your loyalty club or avail of special offers only available to existing customers.

This club mentality is very powerful and can ultimately increase the overall value of your existing customers by increasing frequency of purchase or increasing AOV in return for the kickbacks they get as part of your rewards club or retargeting program.


These are just two audiences worth retargeting simply for their overall value to your business. The first sits very much in the acquisition space while the other is about growing revenue/conversions from your existing customer base.

As retargeting can be costly and ineffective if done incorrectly audience choice and likelyhood of conversion behaviour is the most important factor to consider when launching into any campaign.

Old Digital Media

What is Performance Advertising?

Advertising has changed a lot since the days of Doyle Dane Bernbach’s ‘Lemon‘ and the shift towards online marketing has recently shifted up a gear, or two, or three.

Gone are the days of finger in the wind measurement. With the analytics tools available to digital marketers it is possible to see where profit can be made, where the opportunities live and how much return on investment a particular campaign actually delivered.

Performance Advertising


Performance advertising is a philosophy. Its spirit resides in truth and effectiveness. By offering more transparency to the advertising ecosystem, performance advertising allows clever marketers to scale commercial returns in the channels that offer most profitability. This is especially relevant for E-Commerce advertisers as online media provide a direct link to their consumers’ purchase intent.

Performance Tools

Digital marketers have a multitude of tools available from paid and organic search to direct response & programmatic display, as well as retargeting, liquid ads, product feed managed media, affiliate programs and email marketing available to them.

Firstly. when developing a media strategy, it is essential to identify how the final the media mix should rest at launch. However this is only half the job. By measuring impact across all channels and moving media spend into the highest performing channels in real time profitability, commercial effectiveness and Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) can be increased.

Scale and CPA

By driving scale in conversions through the channels which are converting at an acceptable CPA and pulling back on areas which are less effective overall higher profitability can be achieved – this is the goal of any performance advertiser.

This is a step change for many online advertisers who promise visits and impressions instead of commercial return. Ultimately the goal of any performance campaign or ongoing activity has to be to make the advertiser more money – everything else, impressions, clicks, likes, shares etc. is a bonus.

Old Digital Media

New Adventures in Digital Media

Digital media is growing at a breakneck pace with online ad spend increasing by 32.4% globally in Q1-3 2013 compared to the same period in 2012 (Quarterly Global AdView Pulse Report: Nielsen Q3 2013).

What’s Driving this Growth?

Without a doubt transparency in reporting the commercial impact of advertising campaigns  has been a key factor.

We’re all familiar with the famed John Wanamaker Quote “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” The difference between what we know now versus what we knew then is transparency. We now know which half is wasted.

Optimising Digital Media Spend

Waste is a harsh word for any digital marketer, PPC or SEO manager. Spend should only be considered wasted if it didn’t provide any value. It’s key to note here that value isn’t always sales.

Data is valuable. By following best practice in PPC, SEO or Display (including social media display) digital marketers and strategists can unearth opportunities and truths about a campaign which can then fuel optimal use of spend to deliver commercial returns. This is especially evident in the case of search marketing (PPC & SEO). In many instances, search channels can act as the primary sales arms of a company as they provide a direct conduit to consumer purchase intent.

However, not all search activity delivers on that all important commercial metric, ie. Return on Advertsing Spend (ROAS). Managing non-converting ad spend is central to account or campaign optimisation. This can be summarised as follows:

  1. Build the campaign to meet the brief and follow best practice.
  2. Track and act to see what’s working and what’s not.
  3. Push harder to scale what works; pull back on what’s less effective.
  4. Analyse areas that don’t deliver a direct commercial return.
  5. Use this data to re-shape the campaign or wider business strategy to drive sales in the areas where scale and profitability can be achieved


Digital marketing is in hyper-growth as truth and direct commercial returns trump the costly and airy-fairy measured world of traditional media.

By adding transparency to the world of advertising in the online space, marketers can account for the revenue or commercial impact of their promotional activity across many channels.

Optimised ad spend means there is an additional level of direct commerciality within the mix of media choices; with many digital channels acting as the primary sales arms of those companies.

If managed to strict KPIs and to the latest best practice, digital advertising can deliver a profitable ROAS and provide the scale in revenue returns that is simply not achievable for the same profit levels through traditional media; we couldn’t measure it anyway. This is why we are seeing a mass-shift to digital ad spend globally.


Cathal Melinn