Google COVID-19 Marketing Strategy Playbook - Search Engine Journal

Google COVID-19 Marketing Strategy Playbook - Search Engine Journal

Google COVID-19 Marketing Strategy Playbook - Search Engine Journal

Posted: 26 Apr 2020 02:19 AM PDT

Google has released a COVID-19 Marketing Playbook.

It's designed to give businesses a framework for creating a marketing strategy during the pandemic.

The strategy is based on Google's observations on how businesses are dealing with the swiftly changing business environment.

Three Paths To Economic Recovery

According to Google, there are three paths toward economic recovery:

  1. Respond
  2. Rebuild
  3. Recover/Re-frame

This is how Google outlines those three steps:


What's Happening?
Businesses are responding and adapting to fast-changing consumer behavior and fluctuations in demand.

What Can You Do?
Solve what matters today to get your business ready to rebuild.


What's Happening?
Businesses are planning for the recovery and rebuilding their marketing fundamentals, with deeper insights, tools, and measurement.

What Can You Do?
Prepare to capture dynamic demand and position yourself well for the recovery.


What's Happening?
Businesses are reframing their business models and digital marketing practices to restart or maintain growth.

What Can You Do?
Implement marketing learnings from the crisis into your long term business strategy to drive sustained growth.

Google Coronavirus Marketing Playbook

Three Stages of Marketing Strategy

The marketing strategy is divided into three stages:

  1. Consumer insights to drive your approach
  2. Assess the impact on your business
  3. Take action now

Consumer Insights

The section for consumer insights is about understanding how consumer behavior has changed.

This is super important to everyone, from small businesses transitioning to digital sales to affiliate marketers pivoting out of failed niches toward more viable affiliate programs.

Search patterns and shifts in consumer behavior are data points from which insights are derived.

Three Pandemic Related Search Patterns

Google identified three search patterns:

  1. Shock
    Sudden change in behavior, unlikely to sustain
    Example: Searches related to school closings
  2. Step change
    Sudden change in behavior, may sustain …showing signs of stabilization at elevated levels
    Example: Home workout related searches
  3. Speed up
    Acceleration of existing behavior, may sustain …showing signs of continued behavior for now
    Example: Delivery related searches
Screenshot of Google Covid-19 search trends

Tools for Discovering Consumer Insights

Google recommends four tools for identifying search patterns that can help provide insights that can be applied to a marketing strategy.

Google Trends
See actual keyword search trends segmented by dates and geographic areas. It shows how searches are trending (up or down) including in comparison to other keywords.

Shopping Insights
Allows you to see shopping trends for product categories and brands.

Google Alerts 
Allows you to create a custom alert for latest results and news for your chosen keywords and topics.

Find My Audience 
A tool to help identify your YouTube audience

Google's Marketing Response

Google uses it's own example to illustrate how to respond to the changing search trends by using five principles to make sure their strategies continue to be relevant to users.

  • Context
    Related to localization
  • Constantly reassess
    Being flexible and responsive to changing trends
  • Creative considerations
    Evaluate if artwork, tone, words and other creatives appropriate
  • Changing priorities to navigate uncertainty
    Being helpful in away that fits the current reality
  • Contribution, at every opportunity
    Identifying ways the brand can help that are specific to the pandemic

Usefulness of Google's Strategy Playbook

Google's COVID-19 strategy playbook has many ideas for finding consumers and figuring out how the next move.

While there are parts that are explicitly focused on pay-per-click advertising, the playbook is useful for helping businesses identify opportunities for helping consumers and keeping a business moving forward.

Download Google's COVID-19 Marketing Strategy Playbook here  (PDF)

Read Google's announcement
Navigating the Road Ahead: A Guide to Help Businesses Adapt Marketing Strategies in Wake of COVID-19

How to Optimize Your Amazon Listing for Improved SEO - G2

Posted: 16 Apr 2020 12:00 AM PDT

Selling on Amazon often feels mysterious. 

Even when you think you did everything right, from sourcing a fantastic product to crafting the perfect copy, it can feel like your listing is the lonely person at the dance. Amazon is a hugely competitive marketplace with other sellers offering products similar to yours.

And since 70% of Amazon customers never click past that first page of search results, you need to refine your listing so that it becomes the belle of the ball. Amazon listing optimization is a set of steps to fine-tune your product listing and help it rank on that critical first page of relevant search results. You can think of Amazon optimization as SEO.

Strong SEO:

  • Strategically places keywords throughout the copy
  • Works to satisfy customer needs
  • Prioritizes user friendliness

A search engine like Google takes the internet's vast amount of data and resources – videos, articles, images, and the like – and matches them to a specific search term, ranking them from most to least relevant. 

Amazon's A9 algorithm essentially does the same thing, but within the marketplace instead of the entire web. Shoppers use the Amazon search box just like they use Google: they type in a phrase that they believe will get them as close to their desired product as possible.

The keywords in that phrase are critical to your listing's success. If a potential buyer searches egg cookers on Amazon, A9 will find product listings that include some version of that keyword.

But A9 doesn't only look at keywords. It wants a detailed description that's easy to read, high-quality photos to showcase the product, a reliable seller who knows how to keep customers happy, and a satisfying experience when the shipment arrives.

Keep these qualities front-of-mind as you optimize your Amazon listing.

9 easy-to-follow ways to optimize your Amazon listing

Since it can be overwhelming to figure out how to optimize your Amazon listing, divide the process into these nine easy steps, prioritized by highest impact. Ready to improve your listing and start watching more sales flow in? Let's get started!

1. Create a clear product title to explain what you're selling

The single most important piece of copy in your listing is your product title. Though a title is just a short string of words, it is deceptively tricky to perfect. A9 loves a straightforward title with easy-to-catch keywords. But shoppers need titles that tell a story about how the product can make their lives easier or better.

what does A9 look for


Take, for example, the popular Dash Rapid Egg Cooker. With almost 24,000 ratings on Amazon, buyers have lots to say about it. The product title reads, "Dash Rapid Egg Cooker: 6 Egg Capacity Electric Egg Cooker for Hard Boiled Eggs, Poached Eggs, Scrambled Eggs, or Omelets with Auto Shut Off Feature – Aqua."

Let's break down the efficacy of this title.

The product brand name, Dash Rapid Egg Cooker, is short but punchy. In four words, you know it's a lightning-fast way to get breakfast on the table. The title gives you several product features: "6 Egg Capacity," "Electric Egg Cooker," "Auto Shut Off Feature," and "Aqua."

At the same time, the title offers several ways you can cook your eggs: Hard Boiled, Poached, Scrambled Eggs, Omelets. The product title is to-the-point. The keywords are there, but so is basic syntax. There's no keyword stuffing, which might look something like this:

"Dash Rapid Egg Cooker, Cooks Eggs Fast Fast Egg Maker Quickly Cooks Omelets Hard Boiled Eggs Poached Eggs Scrambled Eggs Omelets." A nightmare to read, right? Don't do that to your customers!

A strong product title balances all these elements:

  • Punchy copy that maximizes the short space you're given
  • A story or message about how it can help the customer
  • Short- and long-tail keywords (without keyword stuffing)
  • Clean grammar and clear syntax
how to write a strong product title

By including these four ingredients in your product title, you help both the A9 algorithm and your target customers interpret your listing easily.

2. Include all relevant categories and product tags (color, size, etc.)

Because Amazon is such a wide-ranging marketplace, categories and product tags are essential. The platform allows you to include several categories and product tags that vary depending on what you're selling. In the egg cooker example, you'd want to file the product under appropriate categories such as "Home & Kitchen" and "Small Appliances". Ensure you've properly categorized your product in Product Classifier section of Seller Central.

Classifying your product is one of the simplest but most beneficial steps you can take to help buyers find your listing. As Amazon states, "Amazon uses values provided by sellers to determine where listings appear in the Amazon catalog. If this information is missing or incorrect, customers will have a difficult time finding, comparing, and purchasing your products."

Amazon, what they value

Once you've classified the product, make sure your listing includes every color, size, and version you offer. Say someone really wants a red egg cooker for her red-and-white mod kitchen. If you forget to add the red option to your listing, you've lost a sale.

3. Use bullet points to write your product description

Once you've written a compelling and strategic product title, put yourself in your customer's shoes. After she clicks the title, what does she want to discover?

  • What the product can do for her
  • Key features such as size, function, included accessories, and special instructions

Because a wall of text is intimidating to customers, use bullet points to make it easy to digest essential information quickly.

product description

When crafting these bullet points, keep the writing clear, concise, and error-free. Prioritize the most important points.

Once you've got the bones of the bullet points down, incorporate keywords. Get an idea of what your competitors are using by running a search for the top trending items in your product's category. Jot down keywords that apply to your product, too. Then, weave several of these keywords where they fit naturally into your bulleted description.

4. Include product images as a key part of your description

Your Amazon product photography is one of the most important elements of your listing. Can you imagine buying a product online without first seeing a photo? (Several photos, to be honest). It's unthinkable. Photos drive perceptions about a product's quality and value in our lives.

Your imagery must give customers as visceral an experience as possible. Since they can't pick up your product and examine it closely in person, your photos need to stand in for that encounter.

Use as many photos as you're allowed. The more images you provide, the more information shoppers have and the easier you make their decision to purchase.

Aim for photos that are emotionally compelling while showcasing the product from every angle. If you're selling a food product, for example, show the box, the food item, and the packaging, including the nutrition label. For a clothing item, show the garment on a model or several models with different body types.

amazon product listing images

Once you've shot and edited your product images, run a split test to find out which one resonates most with your target audience. Or for quicker results, run a poll with respondents in your customer demographic. They'll vote on their favorite photo and also give you written feedback on why they chose the image they did. Whichever split testing method you choose, feature the winning image as your main product photo.

5. Add relevant information to the filter fields

Sometimes customers will click on the filters on the left-hand side of an Amazon search results page to narrow their search for the perfect item.

Make sure to fill out all the relevant information to the filter fields. That way, when customers check boxes – for an egg cooker under $25, for example – your listing will rise to the top of their search results.

6. Try to increase your product conversion rate

While you can't directly control how many people click and buy your products, you can work to raise that conversion rate. Find your product conversion rate anytime in Seller Central by clicking on Business Report.

One way to improve your conversion rate is to join the Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) program. Becoming a Prime Seller consistently puts your product in front of Prime members, who tend to convert at a rate of 74%. Non-Prime members convert at a rate of about 13%. That's a huge difference!

If you don't want to pay more for FBA, try offering perks like free shipping, extra-competitive pricing, and coupons. These incentives will all make customers more likely to purchase your product over your competitors'.

The more people who see your product, the better, so share your listing with your networks across social media. You can also experiment with deep-discount and chatbot campaigns to goose your conversion numbers, but be careful not to violate Amazon's Terms of Service.

7. Use the sponsored products feature to highlight your product

Sponsored products are a type of Amazon pay-per-click ad that appear among the results in any search. They look just like any other organic listing except for a gray "Sponsored" label. Basically, you're paying Amazon to push your ad to the top of relevant search results.

Sponsored products also appear in every nook and cranny of a buyer's shopping journey, which means they're highly visible – and clickable.

To create a Sponsored Products Ad, head to Campaign Manager in Seller Central and set the name, duration, and budget for the campaign. You can then decide whether you want Amazon to automatically target likely customers for you, or if you want to manually target them yourself. Manually targeting your audience means you provide your own keywords.

You might hear the phrase "winning the Buy Box" when it comes to sponsored products. The Buy Box is the section of the product detail page that includes the Add to Cart or Set up recurring delivery buttons.

percent of shoppers who purchase through buy box

Eighty-two percent of Amazon shoppers purchase through the Buy Box, so being featured here is competitive.

To increase your chance of winning the Buy Box, make sure you:

  • List a competitive and reasonable price
  • Ship quickly
  • Maintain a healthy inventory

8. Increase the number of product reviews you have

Product reviews can be notoriously difficult to get, but they give you so much credibility with potential buyers, especially when the reviews come from verified purchases, skew positive, and contain relevant information.

Most customers don't ever leave reviews unless they're upset with you or your product. So what do you, the seller, do to increase the number of reviews your listing has?

There are many things you can't do to increase your reviews, such as writing reviews yourself, offering free products in exchange for reviews, or swapping good reviews with other brands. Make sure you know Amazon's rules by heart.

Here's what you can do:

  • Take excellent care of your customers by providing quick, damage-free shipping, hassle-free returns and exchanges, and easy communication when needed.
  • Use a feedback collection software to send out customized, personal, non-spammy emails to your customers.
take care of your customers

9. Answer questions

Gain your customers' trust by answering any questions that they have. These questions are published for future buyers to read during their buying journey – and many do. Customers often ask random but important-to-them questions, like "Does this come with batteries?" or "Would this fit in a mid-sized motorhome?"

When you answer questions with clean grammar, professionalism, and politeness, and sign off as the seller of your product, you make an impact on your audience. Plus, you'll make it that much easier for them to convert because you'll add to their understanding of your product.

answer questions with great grammar and professionalism

Amazon listing optimization is in your hands

When it comes down to it, you have more control over your listing performance than you might have thought. And that's a good thing! By following these simple but critical steps, you'll put yourself above the competition and ensure that your product listing gets noticed.

If you haven't optimized your Amazon listing yet, there's no better time to begin. It'll take dedicated work, but the payoff will endure. 

Need more help with your Amazon listing? Learn how to sell on Amazon to ensure maximum profit from your efforts! 

Alphabet Earnings: What To Expect As Google Cuts Marketing Budgets By 50% In Second Half 04/27/2020 - MediaPost Communications

Posted: 27 Apr 2020 12:00 AM PDT

Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai last week laid out the company's internal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the company says it will cut marketing budgets in half for the second part of 2020, as Alphabet prepares to report earnings on Tuesday. 

Reports suggest the cuts will include a hiring freeze for full-time employees and contractors.

Before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, Google expected to increase marketing spend, up from the $18.46 billion spent on sales and marketing in 2019. 

Analysts now expect Alphabet to report flat earnings for Q1 in the U.S., according to eMarketer. Based on updated guidance from the analyst firm the numbers should come in between a 2.8% increase and 0.2% decline year-over-year, estimates eMarketer Analyst Nicole Perrin.

"Google represents a majority of the U.S. search market, and we would expect U.S. search revenues at Google to be roughly in line with those expectations," Perrin wrote in a research note. "Most of Google's search revenues come from outside the U.S., but their results for search will be an important indicator of how the search ad market is faring here and abroad."



Display should come in slightly higher in Q1 for the U.S., between 2.1% and 8.5% due to strong growth early in the year. eMarketer also expects a continued rise in video ad spending for Q1.

Earlier this week, Kenshoo, a marketing technology company, hosted a call on industry trends, reporting that weekly aggregated spend largely stabilized in April.

Colin Sebastian, analyst at Baird Capital, wrote in a research note that spend on search media fared better than the overall digital industry spend, which declined 10% year over year and 5% quarter over quarter, according to other data points.

Kenshoo's Q2 data show signs of recovery in search with current volumes nearing levels at the onset of the crisis, with particular strength week over week in apparel, shopping/retail, home furnishings, and pharma, Sebastian wrote.

"This is consistent with other third-party data points, and given Kenshoo's business mix, also reflects stronger e-commerce trends," Sebastian wrote. "The drop in spend during March was perhaps less acute (or better than feared) for Google and Facebook/Instagram. As such, we view the data as relatively positive in an otherwise challenging environment."

Search spend in the first quarter of 2020 rose 1%, year over year vs. the expected 8% to 9%. Product ads fared well. Until early market, search trends were in line with Kenshoo's expectations, but as COVID-19 unfolded Google experienced "relative strength in responsive search ads and mobile/desktop shopping ads, with desktop keyword (-4%) weighing on overall spending growth."


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