Good morning, feel like you’re flying blind?

The decline in search query visibility in Google Ads is no joke. Looking across a set of large advertisers, Tinuiti reported “a significant drop” in spend that could be attributed to search queries from August to September when Google implemented the change

The lack of visibility combined with the expansion of close variants mean it’s much harder for advertisers to get a picture of how their keywords are actually performing. 

I’m seeing this play out acutely in an account that is 1. New and 2. In a niche within a highly competitive market. Tighten the keywords and there isn’t enough search volume. Broaden the keywords and there isn’t enough search query data to execute an efficient negative (or even positive) keyword strategy. I’ve also found the share of queries that get reported can vary widely across accounts, depending on the market. Just 56% of spend and 19% of clicks can be attributed to search terms in this newer account. The search terms that do register indicate there is indeed good money being wasted on irrelevant queries. It makes search a much tougher channel for this company.

And it’s  one more thing forcing new approaches to paid search.

This challenge will come up in the Epic Ads Automation Debate between Brad Geddes and Frederick Vallaeys that I’ll be moderating on Tuesday, Dec. 8th during SMX. I’m looking forward to hearing what they say and how they’re dealing with these changes. 

Ginny Marvin,

Social Short

Snap launches 3 certifications for advertisers

 The new program, Snap Connect, offers learning modules for direct-response advertisers on Snapchat. There are three tracks to certification. The tracks focus on three key direct response advertising verticals for Snapchat: mobile games, apps and e-commerce sellers. Snap Connect is part of the Snap Focus education portal. 

Why we care. The modules are aimed at helping advertisers run more effective campaigns, and certifications can help agencies and consultants market their Snapchat media services. Users can choose regional paths (North America, for example) and earn certification after completing the modules and passing an exam. 


Webinar: Dominate local search in your 2021

In 2021, mobile devices will influence more than $1.4 trillion in local sales. With markets diversifying and competition not being limited by physical geography to encroach on your search space, you must build momentum and identify new ways of growing your paid landscape. Join this webinar and learn how to pivot and adapt your strategy to dominate local search.

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Search Shorts

A disturbance in the Google force

Google search update disturbance. This is one of those unconfirmed updates, but there has been a disturbance in the Google search results around November 4th.

Home page outranking inside pages. Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that your home page can outrank your internal pages because “your homepage is just significantly stronger within your website. Sometimes that’s a matter of time (as people discover your detailed page & recommend it), sometimes it’s also a matter of you being super-clear within your site.”

Better rankings but less clicks. Travel blogger, Valerie Stimac, posted a complaint on Twitter that her rankings are doing super well in Google Search but that clicks and traffic from Google have died in a big way. So Danny Sullivan from Google went back and forth one-on-one with her trying to explain why that might be the case. The conversation is super interesting and I put it together over here.


Search marketing success starts here

Forward-thinking keynotes from Areej AbuAli and Mike King, 45+ tactic-rich SEO and SEM sessions, 1:1 community networking, and more. Book your SMX pass by November 14 for just $199!

See the agenda »


How the parent of brands like Timberland and Smartwool views customer data now

Sponsored by BlueConic

“About a year and a half, almost two years ago now, we pursued a journey in search of a technology that aligned with our customer-centricity objectives, and ultimately selected a CDP,” said Reem Seghairoun of multi-brand apparel company VF Corp, adding that it began with its use cases rather than with a specific technology in mind. “And the journey has been going on since.”

Specifically, VF was looking for a technology that supported sophisticated customer analytics and addressed consumer privacy concerns. It sought a solution that was easy to use that meshed with the company culture. VF considered building versus buying, while always keeping customer-centricity front and center.


What we're reading

We've curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader.

Breaking up Google and the rest of Big Tech wouldn’t be enough to fix our innovation problems – MarketWatch

Core Web Vitals and the News Industry – The End of Fake News? – State of Digital

Election Polls vs. Results Can Help Explain How SparkToro’s Data Works – SparkToro

Google My Business Category Changes – Sterling Sky Inc

Google Search Console Misclassified Discover Video Performance Data – Search Engine Roundtable

Google Understands An Author Style Well Enough to Imitate It – Go Fish Digital

How I created a Topic Cluster and boosted my website traffic by 1000% – Samuel Schmitt

Key product updates for November – Microsoft Advertising

What is Barnacle SEO? – SEM Rush