Tag Archive | "Growth"

Google ad revenue growth popped back in Q2





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Report: Product advertising is driving spend growth in search, social, marketplace

Product ad spend is outpacing overall market growth, according to a Kenshoo report.



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Microsoft search, LinkedIn revenue growth slow for third straight quarter

Higher revenue per search couldn’t offset lower volume in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2019.



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How McDonald’s Is Using Data, Machine Learning, and AI to Accelerate Growth

“Our acquisition of Dynamic Yield has brought us a lot of excitement,” says McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook. “Very simply put, in the online world when we’re shopping and we pick an item and put it into our shopping basket, any website will automatically suggest two or three things to go along with it. We’re the first business that we’re aware of that can bring that into the physical world. It’s really just taking data and machine learning and AI, all these sorts of technical capabilities.”

Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald’s, discusses how the company is using technology to elevate the customer experience and accelerate growth in an interview on CNBC:

Continue To See How We Can Elevate the Customer Experience

As we’ve executed the growth plan we’ve spent the first two years, three or four years ago, turning the business around. Now we’ve had a couple of years of growth. We’re confident now that we’re beginning to identify further opportunities to further accelerate growth. That takes a little bit of research and development cost. It means you’ve got to bring some expertise into the business to help us do that. We’re still managing to effectively run the business. G&A is staying the same and we’re putting a little bit more into innovation.

We continue to see how can we help continue to elevate the experience for customers. With this pace of change in the world and with different technology and different innovations, whether it’s around food, technology, or design, we’re seeing opportunities that we think can either make the experience more fun and enjoyable or smoother for customers. If we can find that we’re going to go hard at it.

We need to continue growing. If where we are investing that money is helping drive growth across 38,000 restaurants then I think the shareholders and investors would be satisfied. We want to bring our owner-operators along with us as well. They’re investing their hard-earned dollars so that always means we got a business case. The owner-operators will want to see a return on their investment just the same as a shareholder would. We’ve got a wonderful check and balance in the system to help us make sure we spend that innovative money in the right way.

Using Data, Machine Learning, and AI to Accelerate Growth

Our acquisition of Dynamic Yield has brought us a lot of excitement. It was our first acquisition for 20 years. It was an acquisition in a way that was different from the past. It wasn’t looking at different restaurant businesses to try and expand our footprint. It’s bringing a capability, an IP and some talent, into our business that can help us accelerate the growth model. We completed the deal mid-April and within two weeks we had that technical capability in 800 drive-throughs here in the U.S. It’s a very rapid execution and implementation.

Very simply put, in the online world when we’re shopping and we pick an item and put it into our shopping basket, any website we’re on these days will automatically suggest two or three things to go along with it. People who buy that tend to like these things as well. We’re the first business that we’re aware of that can bring that into the physical world. As customers are at the menu board, maybe they’re ordering a coffee and we can suggest a dessert or they’re ordering a quarter pounder with cheese and we can suggest making that into a meal. It’s really just taking data and machine learning and AI, all these sorts of technical capabilities.

Mining All of the Data Will Improve the Business

The best benefit for customers is we’re more likely to suggest things they do want and less likely to suggest things they don’t. It’ll just be a nicer experience for the customer. But yes, for the restaurant itself, because we can put our drive-thru service lines in there, for example, the technical capability by mining all of the data will be to suggest items are easier to make at our busier times. That’ll help smooth the operation as well. The immediate result will be some ticket (increases). But frankly, if the overall experience is better customers come back more often. That’s ultimately where the success will be, driving repeat visits and getting people back more often.

Across the entire sector, traffic is tight right now and people are eating out less. They have been progressively eating out less for a number of years. Whether it’s the advent of home delivery, for example, which is something we participate in, but at the moment it’s just a little bit tight out there. It’s a fight for market share. Anyone who is getting growth, typically it’s because they’re adding new units. People are finding it hard to (increase) guest count growth. It’s something that we have stated as an ambition of ours. We think that’s a measure of the true health of the business. Last quarter, we did grow traffic and we’ve grown traffic for the last couple of years, but only modestly. We want to be stronger than that.

How McDonald’s Is Using Data, Machine Learning, and AI to Accelerate Growth

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Technology and Innovation Powering Levi Strauss Growth Strategy, Says CEO

Levi Strauss began trading on the New York Stock Exchange this morning under the ticker symbol ‘LEVI.’ By mid-afternoon, the stock was at $ 22.66, substantially higher than the price offered to institutional investors. It’s clear that investors believe that Levi’s can leverage technology and innovation to successfully compete online and in brick and mortar stores.


Levi Strauss Soars in NYSE Debut

Charles Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss, discusses how technology and innovation are driving increased sales and market share in an interview with CNBC coinciding with their IPO:

We Are Denim and We’re the Market Leader Globally

We are denim and we’re the market leader globally. A lot of people as we were doing the (IPO) roadshow said aren’t you guys just riding the denim wave? We’re creating the denim wave. We’ve been driving the category with innovation across our men’s business and our women’s business. We’ve expanded to other categories. Last year we finished with 14 percent growth coming off of 8 percent growth the prior year. The business is really humming right now.

I believe this is sustainable for the long term. Maybe not double digits forever. But we’ve got clear runway for growth across the categories that we’re competing in. We’re building share in our core categories and expanding to new categories. Last fiscal year, when we finished the year our growth was really broad-based. If you looked at it in the categories where we competed we grew every single category. If you looked at it by geography we grew every single geography. If you look at it by channel we grew across wholesale, including US wholesale, which is a little bit of a melting iceberg right now. We grew in our own brick-and-mortar and ecommerce. It was very broad-based growth last year and we’re confident we can continue that.

We Have Built a Very Big Platform for Big Data

First of all, to be successful it does come down to strong brands. Consumers at the end of the day love an emotional attachment with their brand. We’ve recreated that that love for Levi’s. We have built a very big platform for big data. In fact just a couple of weeks ago we announced that we’ve hired a head of advanced analytics and machine learning who will sit on the executive team and report directly to me. We are mining the data that we do collect and really turning it into revenue.

Our strategies are working and one of the key strategic choices that we made seven years ago, shortly after I joined, was to become a leading world-class omnichannel retailer and it is working. The mix has shifted to omnichannel. When I joined the company it was about 20 percent of our business. Today, it’s almost a third. It is faster growing than our wholesale business and we’re continuing to invest in it. Most of our capital investment is going into retail and ecommerce and knitting that seamless consumer experience together.

Implemented New Instance of SAP and Investing in RFID

It (IPO funds) is going to go into continued investment in building out our omnichannel. So both brick-and-mortar retail as well as our ecommerce business and then knitting it together with technology. For example, we’re implementing a new instance of SAP and investing in RFID (radio frequency identification). We’ve implemented RFID across our business in the US and UK and that’s actually really turning into money. Every one of the products in our store is tagged with RFID.

I’ve actually had this experience happen to me myself in our new Times Square store. There was an item I wanted to buy and they didn’t have it in my size. A stylist came over and scanned the tag and she could see that my size was available in the back room. Just two minutes later I was in the dressing room trying it on. A year ago before our RFID that would have been a lost sale. That just wouldn’t have happened. It gives us instant clear visibility to the inventory in our store, both in front of house as well as back of house.

Levi’s Driving Market Share Through Product Innovation

Back in 2013 and 2014, the headlines were the death of denim. It was all about athletic tights and Lululemon tights. It became a throwdown moment for us as a company. We have an innovation center a couple of blocks from our office. We brought our suppliers, the mills that make denim for us, into that innovation center. We understood what women were really telling us by wearing tights. That used to be a denim occasion. They wanted soft stretchy comfortable material that made them look great and gave them confidence. That was what was driving that conversion. So we innovated around soft stretchy comfortable denim which we can now do. We developed proprietary four-way stretch so that women don’t get baggy knees, which is their biggest dissatisfier.

We relaunched our business in the middle of 2015 and we’ve grown 14 quarters in a row and in the last eight quarters at double-digit rates. It has been a huge part of our growth. We were under $ 800 million just on women’s bottoms about three years ago. We’re over a billion dollars today. We are number one globally with a nine percent market share, but we’re not number one in a number of markets including right here in the US. So I really do believe we can continue to grow at an accelerated rate on our women’s business. There are lots of what I like to call share donors out there for us to build share while we’re building the category.

We haven’t seen any (backlash to being an American brand). This brand stands for everything good about America. Freedom, democracy, and allowing people to express themselves. Authentic self-expression is what the Levi’s brand is all about. We’ve not seen any backlash. None. We think there are lots of opportunities still for us. I am not worried at all about denim. We are denim and we’ll continue to drive this category through great innovation and marketing that connects with consumers and sends them into our stores.

Technology and Innovation Powering Levi Strauss Growth Strategy

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SEO Channel Context: An Analysis of Growth Opportunities

Posted by Branko_Kral

Too often do you see SEO analyses and decisions being made without considering the context of the marketing channel mix. Equally as often do you see large budgets being poured into paid ads in ways that seem to forget there’s a whole lot to gain from catering to popular search demand.

Both instances can lead to leaky conversion funnels and missed opportunity for long term traffic flows. But this article will show you a case of an SEO context analysis we used to determine the importance and role of SEO.

This analysis was one of our deliverables for a marketing agency client who hired us to inform SEO decisions which we then turned into a report template for you to get inspired by and duplicate.

Case description

The included charts show real, live data. You can see the whole SEO channel context analysis in this Data Studio SEO report template.

The traffic analyzed is for of a monetizing blog, whose marketing team also happens to be one of most fun to work for. For the sake of this case study, we’re giving them a spectacular undercover name — “The Broze Fellaz.”

For context, this blog started off with content for the first two years before they launched their flagship product. Now, they sell a catalogue of products highly relevant to their content and, thanks to one of the most entertaining Shark Tank episodes ever aired, they have acquired investments and a highly engaged niche community.

As you’ll see below, organic search is their biggest channel in many ways. Facebook also runs both as organic and paid and the team spends many an hour inside the platform. Email has elaborate automated flows that strive to leverage subscribers that come from the stellar content on the website. We therefore chose the three — organic Search, Facebook, and email — as a combination that would yield a comprehensive analysis with insights we can easily act on.

Ingredients for the SEO analysis

This analysis is a result of a long-term retainer relationship with “The Broze Fellaz” as our ongoing analytics client. A great deal was required in order for data-driven action to happen, but we assure you, it’s all doable.

From the analysis best practice drawer, we used:

  • 2 cups of relevant channels for context and analysis via comparison.
  • 3 cups of different touch points to identify channel roles — bringing in traffic, generating opt-ins, closing sales, etc.
  • 5 heads of open-minded lettuce and readiness to change current status quo, for a team that can execute.
  • 457 oz of focus-on-finding what is going on with organic search, why it is going on, and what we can do about it (otherwise, we’d end up with another scorecard export).
  • Imperial units used in arbitrary numbers that are hard to imagine and thus feel very large.
  • 1 to 2 heads of your analyst brain, baked into the analysis. You’re not making an automated report — even a HubSpot intern can do that. You’re being a human and you’re analyzing. You’re making human analysis. This helps avoid having your job stolen by a robot.
  • Full tray of Data Studio visualizations that appeal to the eye.
  • Sprinkles of benchmarks, for highlighting significance of performance differences.

From the measurement setup and stack toolbox, we used:

  • Google Analytics with tailored channel definitions, enhanced e-commerce and Search Console integration.
  • Event tracking for opt-ins and adjusted bounce rate via MashMetrics GTM setup framework.
  • UTM routine for social and email traffic implemented via Google Sheets & UTM.io.
  • Google Data Studio. This is my favorite visualization tool. Despite its flaws and gaps (as it’s still in beta) I say it is better than its paid counterparts, and it keeps getting better. For data sources, we used the native connectors for Google Analytics and Google Sheets, then Facebook community connectors by Supermetrics.
  • Keyword Hero. Thanks to semantic algorithms and data aggregation, you are indeed able to see 95 percent of your organic search queries (check out Onpage Hero, too, you’ll be amazed).

Inspiration for my approach comes from Lea Pica, Avinash, the Google Data Studio newsletter, and Chris Penn, along with our dear clients and the questions they have us answer for them.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Analysis of the client’s SEO on the context of their channel mix

1) Insight: Before the visit

What’s going on and why is it happening?

Organic search traffic volume blows the other channels out of the water. This is normal for sites with quality regular content; yet, the difference is stark considering the active effort that goes into Facebook and email campaigns.

The CTR of organic search is up to par with Facebook. That’s a lot to say when comparing an organic channel to a channel with high level of targeting control.

It looks like email flows are the clear winner in terms of CTR to the website, which has a highly engaged community of users who return fairly often and advocate passionately. It also has a product and content that’s incredibly relevant to their users, which few other companies appear to be good at.

There’s a high CTR on search engine results pages often indicates that organic search may support funnel stages beyond just the top.

As well, email flows are sent to a very warm audience — interested users who went through a double opt-in. It is to be expected for this CTR to be high.

What’s been done already?

There’s an active effort and budget allocation being put towards Facebook Ads and email automation. A content plan has been put in place and is being executed diligently.

What we recommend next

  1. Approach SEO in a way as systematic as what you do for Facebook and email flows.
  2. Optimize meta titles and descriptions via testing tools such as Sanity Check. The organic search CTR may become consistently higher than that of Facebook ads.
  3. Assuming you’ve worked on improving CTR for Facebook ads, have the same person work on the meta text and titles. Most likely, there’ll be patterns you can replicate from social to SEO.
  4. Run a technical audit and optimize accordingly. Knowing that you haven’t done that in a long time, and seeing how much traffic you get anyway, there’ll be quick, big wins to enjoy.

Results we expect

You can easily increase the organic CTR by at least 5 percent. You could also clean up the technical state of your site in the eyes of crawlers -— you’ll then see faster indexing by search engines when you publish new content, increased impressions for existing content. As a result, you may enjoy a major spike within a month.

2) Insight: Engagement and opt-ins during the visit

With over 70 percent of traffic coming to this website from organic search, the metrics in this analysis will be heavily skewed towards organic search. So, comparing the rate for organic search to site-wide is sometimes conclusive, other times not conclusive.

Adjusted bounce rate — via GTM events in the measurement framework used, we do not count a visit as a bounce if the visit lasts 45 seconds or longer. We prefer this approach because such an adjusted bounce rate is much more actionable for content sites. Users who find what they were searching for often read the page they land on for several minutes without clicking to another page. However, this is still a memorable visit for the user. Further, staying on the landing page for a while, or keeping the page open in a browser tab, are both good indicators for distinguishing quality, interested traffic, from all traffic.

We included all Facebook traffic here, not just paid. We know from the client’s data that the majority is from paid content, they have a solid UTM routine in place. But due to boosted posts, we’ve experienced big inaccuracies when splitting paid and organic Facebook for the purposes of channel attribution.

What’s going on and why is it happening?

It looks like organic search has a bounce rate worse than the email flows — that’s to be expected and not actionable, considering that the emails are only sent to recent visitors who have gone through a double opt-in. What is meaningful, however, is that organic has a better bounce rate than Facebook. It is safe to say that organic search visitors will be more likely to remember the website than the Facebook visitors.

Opt-in rates for Facebook are right above site average, and those for organic search are right below, while organic is bringing in a majority of email opt-ins despite its lower opt-in rate.

Google’s algorithms and the draw of the content on this website are doing better at winning users’ attention than the detailed targeting applied on Facebook. The organic traffic will have a higher likelihood of remembering the website and coming back. Across all of our clients, we find that organic search can be a great retargeting channel, particularly if you consider that the site will come up higher in search results for its recent visitors.

What’s been done already?

The Facebook ad campaigns of “The Broze Fellaz” have been built and optimized for driving content opt-ins. Site content that ranks in organic search is less intentional than that.

Opt-in placements have been tested on some of the biggest organic traffic magnets.

Thorough, creative and consistent content calendars have been in place as a foundation for all channels.

What we recommend next

  1. It’s great to keep using organic search as a way to introduce new users to the site. Now, you can try to be more intentional about using it for driving opt-ins. It’s already serving both of the stages of the funnel.
  2. Test and optimize opt-in placements on more traffic magnets.
  3. Test and optimize opt-in copy for top 10 traffic magnets.
  4. Once your opt-in rates have improved, focus on growing the channel. Add to the content work with a 3-month sprint of an extensive SEO project
  5. Assign Google Analytics goal values to non-e-commerce actions on your site. The current opt-ins have different roles and levels of importance and there’s also a handful of other actions people can take that lead to marketing results down the road. Analyzing goal values will help you create better flows toward pre-purchase actions.
  6. Facebook campaigns seem to be at a point where you can pour more budget into them and expect proportionate increase in opt-in count.

Results we expect

Growth in your opt-ins from Facebook should be proportionate to increase in budget, with a near-immediate effect. At the same time, it’s fairly realistic to bring the opt-in rate of organic search closer to site average.

3) Insight: Closing the deal

For channel attribution with money involved, you want to make sure that your Google Analytics channel definitions, view filters, and UTM’s are in top shape.

What’s going on and why is it happening?

Transaction rate, as well as per session value, is higher for organic search than it is for Facebook (paid and organic combined).

Organic search contributes to far more last-click revenue than Facebook and email combined. For its relatively low volume of traffic, email flows are outstanding in the volume of revenue they bring in.

Thanks to the integration of Keyword Hero with Google Analytics for this client, we can see that about 30 percent of organic search visits are from branded keywords, which tends to drive the transaction rate up.

So, why is this happening? Most of the product on the site is highly relevant to the information people search for on Google.

Multi-channel reports in Google Analytics also show that people often discover the site in organic search, then come back by typing in the URL or clicking a bookmark. That makes organic a source of conversions where, very often, no other channels are even needed.

We can conclude that Facebook posts and campaigns of this client are built to drive content opt-ins, not e-commerce transactions. Email flows are built specifically to close sales.

What’s been done already?

There is dedicated staff for Facebook campaigns and posts, as well a thorough system dedicated to automated email flows.

A consistent content routine is in place, with experienced staff at the helm. A piece has been published every week for the last few years, with the content calendar filled with ready-to-publish content for the next few months. The community is highly engaged, reading times are high, comment count soaring, and usefulness of content outstanding. This, along with partnerships with influencers, helps “The Broze Fellaz” take up a half of the first page on the SERP for several lucrative topics. They’ve been achieving this even without a comprehensive SEO project. Content seems to be king indeed.

Google Shopping has been tried. The campaign looked promising but didn’t yield incremental sales. There’s much more search demand for informational queries than there is for product.

What we recommend next

  1. Organic traffic is ready to grow. If there is no budget left, resource allocation should be considered. In paid search, you can often simply increase budgets. Here, with stellar content already performing well, a comprehensive SEO project is begging for your attention. Focus can be put into structure and technical aspects, as well as content that better caters to search demand. Think optimizing the site’s information architecture, interlinking content for cornerstone structure, log analysis, and technical cleanup, meta text testing for CTR gains that would also lead to ranking gains, strategic ranking of long tail topics, intentional growing of the backlink profile.
  2. Three- or six-month intensive sprint of comprehensive SEO work would be appropriate.

Results we expect

Increasing last click revenue from organic search and direct by 25 percent would lead to a gain as high as all of the current revenue from automated email flows. Considering how large the growth has been already, this gain is more than achievable in 3–6 months.

Wrapping it up

Organic search presence of “The Broze Fellaz” should continue to be the number-one role for bringing new people to the site and bringing people back to the site. Doing so supports sales that happen with the contribution of other channels, e.g. email flows. The analysis points out is that organic search is also effective at playing the role of the last-click channel for transactions, often times without the help of other channels.

We’ve worked with this client for a few years, and, based on our knowledge of their marketing focus, this analysis points us to a confident conclusion that a dedicated, comprehensive SEO project will lead to high incremental growth.

Your turn

In drawing analytical conclusions and acting on them, there’s always more than one way to shoe a horse. Let us know what conclusions you would’ve drawn instead. Copy the layout of our SEO Channel Context Comparison analysis template and show us what it helped you do for your SEO efforts — create a similar analysis for a paid or owned channel in your mix. Whether it’s comments below, tweeting our way, or sending a smoke signal, we’ll be all ears. And eyes.

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A Plan for Mindful Growth and Bringing Fun Back to Your Writing Process

This week on Copyblogger, we’ve been talking with writer, designer, and entrepreneur Paul Jarvis about mindful growth for our business…

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SearchCap: DuckDuckGo growth, YouTube campaigns & ABM measurements

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.



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Bringing Digital-Like Concepts to TV Will Not Cause Digital-Like Growth

Brian Wieser, a well-known advertising expert at Pivotal Research, says that simply bringing digital-like concepts to traditional TV will not by itself cause digital-like growth. He says that growth would only come if TV could appeal to new kinds of advertisers.

Brian Wieser, Senior Analyst at Pivotal Research Group who covers all things advertising from an investor perspective, discussed on BeetTV how technology is changing TV advertising:

Advanced TV Technologies Are Really More About Optimizing

A lot of Advanced TV technologies are really more about optimizing. They’re really more about making the workflows more efficient. They’re also about load-balancing in terms of maximizing or optimizing reach and frequency. Maybe even one day they can help contribute to reduced commercial loads because they can identify better ways to reach different audiences with different units, which then just allows media owners to reduce their ad loads.

Bringing Digital-Like Concepts to TV Will Not Cause Digital-Like Growth

I don’t believe it causes growth in advertising. Bringing digital-like concepts to traditional TV will not cause digital-like growth. The only thing that would cause growth above and beyond the trajectory that TV is on is if TV can appeal to different kinds of advertisers. The direct-to-consumer marketers, for example, would be a segment of a marketer that isn’t really meaningfully in TV.

If there are technologies or if there are platforms or if media owners can find ways to sell to those advertisers, now it’s not a given but it’s an example, of where there could be incremental spending. That’s the only thing that will cause any different growth for the industry.

Any of the Ad Tech Players Could Play in TV

Any of the Ad Tech players could play in TV. I mean certainly, we see right now the bigger players would be Roku and The Trade Desk when we think of publicly traded companies that are trying to play in what we will broadly define as this space. There are other companies, WideOrbit, of course, Mediaocean, there are many other infrastructure players who don’t necessarily sell media, but ultimately they’re the ones who have to help provide the tools to help realize the improvements that the industry needs.

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Merkle: Search ad spending growth slowed again across Google, Bing & Yahoo in Q2 2018

Google CPC growth kept climbing, while Bing Ads and Yahoo Gemini saw a sharp drop in CPCs in Q2 2018.



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