Google Adds Quick Insights on Ad Performance and 'Keyword Themes' for Ad Targeting - Social Media Today

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Google Adds Quick Insights on Ad Performance and 'Keyword Themes' for Ad Targeting - Social Media TodayGoogle Adds Quick Insights on Ad Performance and 'Keyword Themes' for Ad Targeting - Social Media TodayPosted: 17 Jun 2020 12:00 AM PDTGoogle's looking to enhance its simplified Smart Campaigns offering by adding a new way to quickly check on your Google Ads performance, and a new listing of keywords to target, based on your products and services.First off is the new ad check - Google's made it easier to check your ad performance in the mobile app, with a simple search on Google itself. As you can see here, search for 'Google ads' or 'My Ads' and Google will provide you with a basic overview of how your campaigns are going, while you'll also be able to see how your ads look to others.As per Google:"If you want an efficient way of checking your ad status, this feature is for you. We've made our reporting features …

“Google Search Console & Google Analytics New Integrated Reports Beta? - Search Engine Roundtable” plus 4 more

“Google Search Console & Google Analytics New Integrated Reports Beta? - Search Engine Roundtable” plus 4 more


Google Search Console & Google Analytics New Integrated Reports Beta? - Search Engine Roundtable

Posted: 22 Jun 2020 05:30 AM PDT

Google just sent out messages to some Google Search Console verified users of some sort of improved new experience between Google Analytics and Google Search Console. The email says that Google is "working on a new experience that combines Search Console and Google Analytics data to provide you with more useful data about your site."

Now, Google has had Google Search Console integration with Google Analytics since 2011 - where you can see your performance (back then queries) report in Google Analytics. Now there is a Search Console section in Google Analytics.

The email announcing this has the subject line "Updates to the Search Console and Google Analytics linked properties terms of service."

The email says:

To the owner of https://www.domain.com/,

We're working on a new experience that combines Search Console and Google Analytics data to provide you with more useful data about your site. As part of a trial of this experience, we are updating the linking integration between Search Console and Google Analytics to allow the export of data from your Google Analytics property to the linked Search Console property https://www.domain.com/. This change affects only this one Search Console property of yours, and we'll notify you when the new beta experience becomes available (probably in a few weeks).

When this change occurs, any data exported from your Google Analytics property to your linked Search Console property will be subject to the Search Console terms of service. As before, any Search Console data exported from Search Console to your linked Google Analytics property will continue to be subject to the Google Analytics terms of service. If you'd like to disable the data flow between your linked Search Console and Google Analytics property, you can unlink your properties from each other in the property associations page.

This seems to suggest the automatic verification via Google Analytics but maybe not?

The email says "linking integration between Search Console and Google Analytics to allow the export of data from your Google Analytics property to the linked Search Console property."

Curious to see what this means exactly.

Here are some screen shots of this email:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Elevating Your Analytics: A Guide for SEO Beginners - Search Engine Journal

Posted: 22 Jun 2020 06:01 AM PDT

Analytics can be daunting for many business owners and decision-makers.

Heck, it can be daunting for seasoned SEO veterans.

I've been working in SEO for longer than Google's offered analytics, and I still find myself stumped at times, trying to think of how to best measure something.

Google Analytics is a complicated system with seemingly endless features and functions.

One can easily get overwhelmed and what's worse, it's easy to miss some important data points – often by simply not knowing how to access it or even that it exists.

Or as I like to think of it, not knowing the right questions to ask, because you don't know how to frame it.

Over the years I've chatted with clients either over the phone, via reports, or more often – over a screenshare – and I've noticed a common trend where my go-to actions differ from theirs: Which configurations of data that I view as a default, that isn't necessarily obvious to everyone.

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I can't count the number of times I've casually navigated in a way that prompts the exclamation, "You can do that?!"

And thus, this article.

Below we'll explore a few of the more common areas of analytics that I view as "given", that beginners might not even know exist.

1. Exclude Parameters

Google Analytics FBCLID

One of the most common issues I see in analytics is FBCLID and other, similar parameters.

FBCLID is a tracking parameter that Facebook adds to URLs.

And it's annoying in your analytics, especially if you get a lot of traffic from Facebook, as illustrated above.

All the pages you see listed here are actually the same page.

Each time the page was shared or posted, a new FBCLID was used by Facebook.

This means that when we're trying to look at stats for how that page performs across channels, or just how it performs at all, the data is spread across multiple URLs.

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In this case, literally hundreds.

Thankfully, the fix is easy, though a downside is that it only works moving forward.

That is to say, it will fix your future data, but not your past.

So set it up now.

Removing FBCLID

Click Admin in the left-hand navigation.

Then go to View Settings.

Google Analytics View Settings

Go to Exclude URL Query Parameters and enter "fbclid".

Adding FBCLID to Google Analytics

Click Save.

And you're done!

With this completed, all fbclid parameters will be removed, and all the page metrics will report at one URL … the actual URL of the page.

Extra

Want to see whether you have any other parameters cluttering your data?

Simply head over to your Landing Pages in the left nav.

Click Advanced next to your filter, and include all the pages with a question mark in them, excluding those with "fbclid" to get those out of the way as they're already addressed.

Google Analytics Advanced Filters

Personally, I don't worry about parameters I rarely see or that have negligible impact.

If it won't affect my data analysis then it doesn't matter.

But it's worth periodically checking and make sure your data is as clean as you need it to be.

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2. Baked-In Segments

Segments are the unsung hero of Google Analytics.

Segments can help you dig and clarify data points.

I find them especially valuable when I'm walking into environments where things are not set up properly.

They allow me to literally segment what I'm looking at, for a clearer view.

Segments are right in front of everyone, and I can't count the number of folks I chat with who have never adjusted which one they're looking at.

Most people seem to use one:

Google Analytics Segments

If you click Add Segment, it opens up a world of opportunity to better understand your traffic.

For example, a person wanting to understand their organic search traffic.

You can view some pretty limited data going through the Acquisition > Source/Medium reports:

FBCLID in Google Analytics

Where you can click on the one you want data on (google / organic, for example) and pull the metrics you're interested in.

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Quite limited in what you can access (though less than you might think … more on that below) so …

Simply click Add Segment which you will find beside the All Users segment that you're using.

You'll be taken to the segments screen, where you'll find a number of baked-in segments including:

The Organic Segment In Google Analytics

Once selected, either click Apply, which will leave you with two segments (All Users and Organic Traffic), or you can scroll the top and remove the All Users.

Having multiple segments is very useful to compare different traffic types, but a single segment is a great place to start.

Having selected Organic Traffic, I can now navigate through the rest of my analytics, seeing just what this traffic did, answering questions like:

  • What devices does this segment use?
  • Where do they enter?
  • How long do they stay?
  • What's their demographic (especially handy with social)?
  • And about a million more things.

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As noted, you can also have a few segments selected at the same time, to easily compare differences in how they interact with your website.

Let's say I want to know the difference between my paid and organic traffic in the ages of the visitors through each, and how they convert.

I'd select the two segments, head over to Age in the left nav and voila …

Comparing Google Analytics Segments

I can now see how my traffic sources compare.

The use of this goes far broader than just seeing ages, but it's core details like that I find are a good place to start.

3. Custom Segments

While the stock segments can open the door to significant insights, it's in the custom segments you can answer some real questions.

In the first image at the top of this article, you may have noticed the segment I was using was Social – FB or IG.

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That was an accident as I was creating the image, but I left it in as some of you will now scroll up to check and then come back, and that'll improve the metrics on this article. 😉

That segment is a custom segment, I created it to answer specific questions about a campaign the client was running, where we wanted to gather traffic data for the two combined.

To create this segment you click on Add Segment as you did to adjust which segment you were looking at, and instead of selecting one, you click New Segment:

Custom Google Analytics Segments

You can then choose from an array of options that can be overwhelming.

If you're just getting started, you may want to stick to the default setting:

Google Analytics Custom Segments

But personally, I find it easier to just click Conditions and choose manually what I want.

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For example, for the Facebook and Instagram segment, I knew I wanted to combine traffic from facebook.com and Instagram.com, so I created a segment that looked like:

Facebook Or Instagram Custom Google Analytics Segment

You will notice the OR.  You can choose either "or" or "and".

"And" requires both to be true, "or" requires one.

While "and" would be problematic in this case, it allows for segments that answer questions like, "Who is visiting my site from Facebook on mobile, and what are they doing?"

Which would look like:

Custom Google Analytics Segment - Facebook and Mobile

And Conversions…

Probably my biggest use of custom segments though, is in understanding conversions, especially when goals haven't been set up properly.

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If you haven't set up goals properly, or are walking into a scenario where they weren't done or were done but not properly, you create a segment for the goal "thank you page".

This obviously only works where the conversion triggers one.

I was dropped into such a scenario recently and created the following segment.

Google Analytics Segment For Past Conversions

I can now navigate their analytics, looking just at those who converted, or comparing conversions with other segments.

Ideally, you will have goals set up, that's far better than segments for this purpose.

But like filters, goals only report forward from the time they were set up.

When you need data from a time when you didn't have goals set up, this method is backward compatible.

4. Secondary Dimensions

Sometimes the answer is right in front of you, hidden in plain sight.

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Secondary Dimensions are often that answer.

In most pages of analytics, you'll notice (or more often – not notice) the secondary dimensions. Without them, pages can look pretty useless.

When I click on my Source/Medium and then click google / organic, I land at a page like:

Google Analytics Secondary Dimensions

Why would I even want to go there?

There's nothing on this page that I couldn't get on the previous page, and with the same data for all the other sources as well.

The answer is:

Google Analytics Secondary Dimensions

That Secondary dimension drop-down is the key to unlocking a cornucopia of information.

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What it provides depends a lot on the primary dimension.

In general, though, all you need to know is the question you're trying to answer.

What did I want to know when I clicked on google / organic?

Did I want to know what kind of mobile device, users entered with?

Measuring Secondary Dimensions in Google Analytics

Do I want to know the time of day they visit?

Elevating Your Analytics: A Guide for SEO Beginners

Basically, the Secondary dimension is where you uncover the data you probably got to a page to find.

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To Be Continued

We'll be continuing with more beginner (plus) analytics tips next month, as we uncover more ways to get the data you need, to answer the business questions you have.

In the meantime, explore.

In this piece, I could only cover how to access some areas of Google Analytics I see folks overlook frequently.

As far as how it's used and what lies within, if the data these techniques unlock was an iceberg, the examples given above would amount to an ice cube.

While I highly recommend exploring, just looking at what options are available, I can't stress enough to be constantly asking yourself the following question, "What information do I need to make better business decisions?"

Whether that's collecting past conversion data to understand what sources, landing pages, or demographics are more profitable – or knowing how different age groups, from different sources, engage with specific types of content – knowing the question guides figuring out what site metrics you need to answer that.

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And with that, knowing where (and hopefully now a bit more about how) to look at it.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Adobe Stock, edited by author
All screenshots taken by author, June 2020

This SEO tool can show you how to turn those billions of Google searches your way - The Next Web

Posted: 22 Jun 2020 08:34 AM PDT

TLDR: Long Tail Pro is a keyword research tool that can help you identify the best keywords to drive your online web traffic efforts.

Google handles 92 percent of all web searches worldwide. Users search Google using the keyword they think will best help them find the desired result. So if you know the keyword that is sending Google results to certain pages…well, that's the whole ballgame, isn't it?

That straight line sequence of events goes a long way toward explaining exactly why some sites earn monumental web traffic and others get virtually nothing. 

Of course, determining the keyword that can unlock Google riches isn't always a simple process. However, the fleet of web tools available with a service like Long Tail Pro can help you find that all-important keyword and divert a mighty river of search requests right to your door. Right now, a lifetime subscription to Long Tail Pro is on sale for just $49.99, an over 90 percent savings, from TNW Deals.

It's been almost a decade since this foundational keyword research tool was first launched — and it's still offering up a treasure trove of valuable web traffic data for its users. If you're invested in web analytics, Long Tail Pro can track your web ranking, analyze backlinks and yes, find keywords and determine their effectiveness for you or your key competitors.

Just enter a term you want to check. Long Tail Pro will show you how well it will work, offer suggestions for other terms that might offer better results, and even create long-tail keywords with even less competition that might also be worth using.

That analytical eye can also be cast on keywords used by rival businesses, so you can find out exactly what is and is not working for their web efforts.

There's also the Target KC tool to help you find out which keywords are easy, which ones will take extra effort, and which ones you should avoid at all cost.

With a Long Tail Pro subscription, you'll be able to measure your success and keep tabs on how you're doing with their new Brand New Rank Tracker feature, created from feedback of over 70,000 marketing pros.

Get the keyword advantages all the major online brands use with a lifetime of Long Tail Pro access, a $1,500 package of services now available for a one-time $49.99 price while this deal lasts.

Prices are subject to change.

Read next: How to turn on the Nintendo Switch with Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller

Celebrate Pride 2020 with us this month!

Why is queer representation so important? What's it like being trans in tech? How do I participate virtually? You can find all our Pride 2020 coverage here.

A Google for Components – EEJournal - EE Journal

Posted: 22 Jun 2020 06:15 AM PDT

"The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness." — Eric Hoffer

It's not often that you get to solve two problems at once. Or that one product serves two markets simultaneously. But that's the clever business strategy behind a new search engine that helps PCB designers find component footprints while also giving component makers new insight into design wins. 

Meet SnapEDA, a free database of components – lots of components. It's a search engine for datasheets, PCB footprints, and CAD symbols, like Google for electronic components. The concept is straightforward, but the business model is a bit unusual. 

It's easy and glib to say something is "the Google of X," but that overused comparison is more apt than it sounds. You go to SnapEDA's website, type in a part number – or even a vague description, like "16-bit MCU" – and it returns a long list of relevant results. Each line has clickable links to the part's PCB footprint, 3D model, datasheet, and a distributor's order page. Sometimes there's even a free sample. Except for the color scheme, you'd think you were looking at Google results. 

Like Google, it's good at finding what you want. And, like Google, it's also good at suggesting close matches when you're a little imprecise with your search terms. Like Google, it makes money by displaying sponsored results above the nonpaying organic results. And, like Google, it feeds statistical data about those searches back to the component vendors. 

To an engineer, it's a free database of schematic symbols, PCB footprints, and (sometimes) simulation models. For vendors, it's a market-research tool. So, just like Google, SnapEDA serves two communities at once: the public-facing website users and the paying vendors behind the scenes. Your search results become the currency that pays for the service. 

Finding component symbols and footprints has always been a bit of a treasure hunt. Either the part you want isn't in your EDA tool's library, or the vendor has the symbol but it's in the wrong format for your EDA tools, or there's nothing available at all. You wind up converting symbols from one format to another or creating the whole thing from scratch. Not the best part of schematic capture or PCB design. 

Other companies, such as Ultra Librarian, have similar online parts databases. Some are even free or partially free to use. SnapEDA and Ultra Librarian both rely on component vendors and distributors for revenue, and both support about a dozen different EDA tool formats. But SnapEDA leverages its search results to provide interesting marketing data to vendors. 

Company founder and CEO Natasha Baker says only about one-quarter of users' searches on SnapEDA are for a specific component. The rest of the time – the other 75% – engineers are using it to discover new parts. That's useful information to vendors, who might learn that "flow sensor" was the most popular search term that surfaced their part, or that their connector ranked all the way down in 34th when searching for "USB-C." 

Since users can download component models in any of several different EDA formats, it's also interesting to see which format(s) are most requested. According to its data, Altium is the most popular PCB design tool, followed by Autodesk Eagle and Cadence OrCAD and Allegro. 

The most telling statistic is that about 80% of users who download the PCB footprint for a component go on to eventually buy that part in volume. That's a valuable leading indicator for vendors, who potentially get a heads-up that someone, somewhere is designing-in their component. (Apart from the usual IP-address and ISP-related trivia, the company doesn't track individual users.) 

Getting all those parts into its database can be a trick. Unlike Ultra Librarian, SnapEDA doesn't rely on component vendors to manage their own parts; they have staff to do that. Until recently, they entered symbol data manually based on public information. Lately, however, the company has been moving to an OCR-type tool that scans datasheets (either paper or online) and extracts the relevant data. A bit of hand touchup at the end, and you're ready to go. 

SnapEDA is happy enough with this tool that they've productized it as InstaBuild and allowed users to generate their own models. Point it at a screenshot of a component's datasheet and it figures out the pin mapping, generating schematic symbols with inputs on the left, outputs on the right, and power/ground at the corners. 

There's a saying in online economics that if you're not paying for the product, then you are the product. That's certainly true of social-media apps and most search engines, which sell access to their users' personal data to better target advertising dollars. SnapEDA is no exception, although the phrase seems a lot less sinister in this case. The company doesn't sell ad space, and the data it collects from its million-plus users is anonymized and impersonal. Granted, paying vendors get preferential treatment in search results, but we're all used to that now, and the practice is transparent. 

On the other side of the coin, SnapEDA provides component vendors with some interesting insight into how engineers search for components. Is there a surge in requests for battery-management chips? Are certain MCUs trending? How did users find this particular 80-pin connector? Like Google Analytics, it's enough data to keep a marketing team busy for weeks. 

For the rest of us, SnapEDA is just a convenient way to avoid the tedium of creating our own component symbols and models. If someone wants to automate that work and provide it for free, I'm all in.

Every step you take: why Google's plan to buy Fitbit has the ACCC's pulse racing - The Conversation AU

Posted: 22 Jun 2020 08:42 PM PDT

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has expressed concern about Google's proposed acquisition of fitness tracker company Fitbit.

The acquisition will let Google add years' worth of Fitbit users' data to its already unequalled consumer data collection. This could reduce competition in certain health services and other markets in Australia.

Google revealed its plans to acquire Fitbit Inc. for US$2.1 billion last November. But the deal will only go ahead if it gets clearance from competition regulators around the world.

While the ACCC is the first regulator globally to announce its concerns, the European Commission and US Department of Justice are also evaluating the deal. Both will likely take an interest in the ACCC's views, for which submissions are being accepted.

Collective concern is called for

With more than 28 million people using Fitbit wearable devices, many have raised concerns about Google adding Fitbit's sensitive data to its already extensive tracking of consumers.

Google has left many questions unanswered about how it would use the data. Consumers have reason to be sceptical about Google's privacy promises, and the competitive effects of the merger.

Sharing your intimate details

Fitbit collects highly personal information, including sleep patterns, heart rate, active minutes, height and weight, date of birth, food logs, mobile number, biography and precise location data.

According to estimates by Forbes, Fitbit co-founders James Park and Eric Friedman will each receive as much as US$150 million (before taxes) as a result of selling their shares in Fitbit. TechCrunch/Flickr

For those using Fitbit's live coaching services, it also collects wellness plans and goals, calendar events, and communications with a coach. If you're a woman using "female health tracking", data can also include your periods, fertile times, ovulation days and health symptoms.

The ACCC regards Fitbit data as having "unique attributes", noting that datasets from other wearable devices are "not as voluminous, reliable or broad".


Read more: The ACCC is suing Google over tracking users. Here's why it matters


Google's privacy reassurances are not binding

Last November, Google and Fitbit were quick to reassure consumers that "Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads". A Google spokesperson told The Conversation:

Similar to our other products, with wearables, we will be transparent about the data we collect and why. And we do not sell personal information to anyone.

However, the ACCC points out Google is not bound by its commitment to not use the data in its advertising businesses. As the competition watchdog's Chair Rod Sims said:

It is a stretch to believe any commitment Google makes in relation to Fitbit users' data will still be in place five years from now.

When Google acquired online advertising business DoubleClick, it reassured users it would only combine personal data from the two businesses if users opted into this combination. Eight years later, Google simply deleted this promise from its privacy policy.

It's also worth noting Google has not promised to refrain from using Fitbit data in its non-advertising businesses. This could include health services or, in future, health or life insurance. Google would not need to "sell" your data to use it for these commercial purposes.

Google's huge data advantage

Google already has the most extensive collection of consumer data on the planet. This includes data from Google search, YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Nest, Android and Google devices – as well as consumer data collected from millions of third-party websites using Google's services such as Google Analytics, Google Ads and reCAPTCHA.

The ACCC acknowledges Google already uses its pervasive data collection to create unique profiles of individual users. It points out acquiring Fitbit would give Google "one of the largest and most detailed existing fitness and health datasets, as well as another avenue through which it can continue to gather consumer data".

The ACCC is particularly concerned the proposed acquisition could substantially reduce competition between Fitbit, Google and others in "data-dependent health services" such as those supplying:

  • tailored digital advice based on individual health signals to users of Fitbit and other wearables on how to improve their health or manage a medical condition
  • insights to insurance companies or employers wishing to compile risk profiles, reduce costs or enhance productivity
  • diagnostic tools for medical institutions and doctors to determine early indicators of chronic disease and
  • insights or raw data for health researchers.

If Google acquires Fitbit's user data, it could gain a significant advantage over other suppliers of these services and prevent them from accessing the dataset.

According to the ACCC, it could also have an incentive hinder rivals such as Apple, Samsung and Garmin, by removing their access to Google Maps, Google Play Store and Wear OS (a Google operating system for wearables).


Read more: Amazon, Facebook and Google don't need to spy on your conversations to know what you're talking about


Entrenching Google's power in digital advertising

Google makes most of its annual revenue (more than US$100 billion) from online advertising services. Privacy advocates have criticised the ad tech industry, including dominant players like Google and Facebook, for creating a "data free for all" where consumers' intimate information is exchanged between hundreds of companies engaged in targeted advertising.

The ACCC says it is concerned that by acquiring Fitbit's datasets, Google could entrench its market power in certain ad tech markets. For example, it could "even more effectively target advertising to consumers with health-related issues".

What can the ACCC actually do about it?

The ACCC plans to announce its final stance by mid-August on whether Google's merger with Fitbit would contravene Australia's competition legislation. If it decides the merger is likely to substantially lessen competition, it could seek orders from the Federal Court to prevent the merger.

But practically speaking, regulators will likely try to coordinate their response internationally, with the overall outcome decided in larger markets such as the United States and European Union.

The European Commission is expected to release its ruling in July. And past events indicate the commission could impose conditions, or prevent the merger going ahead internationally – even if the US Department of Justice gives it the green light.

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