Welcome to Friday everyone! This week, I have some news to share from Bing that will make some of you cringe, while others will simply see it as a challenge to come up with new tricks and hacks to reach the same end result. The big change is one you’re all too familiar with (thanks to Google), and it involves your cherished search query data. Yep, you guessed it: Encrypted search traffic will soon mean that your search query data from Bing will be a lot leaner. Encrypting search traffic has been an option for users for some time, but this latest change will encrypt all search traffic by default.

After the initial fallout when marketers lost much of their Google keyword referral data, savvy marketing professionals simply found workarounds and ways to garner insights that would provide clues on the search query data we all relied so heavily upon for so long. But of course, organic search has been changing so dramatically, it’s possible that many of you are relying less and less on the same old keyword tactics and more and more on innovative approaches to organic SEO and traffic generation anyway.

If I know my loyal PPC readers, you’re not going to let a silly little thing like limited search query data get you down. So, let’s see what’s in store this week from Google, Bing, and the rest of the web, shall we?

 

Hey, Google, what’s shakin’?

Let’s talk about this massive shift in consumer behavior: The customer journey is no longer a series of predictable media sessions. It’s become fragmented into hundreds of micro-moments as consumers turn to the nearest device to solve their immediate needs.

This complicates matters for digital marketers, natch. But Google is on a mission to help marketers put the pieces of this journey back together – and that’s precisely why they’ve been investing in cross-device technologies for the past two years.

Now, Google is unveiling new benchmarks and key tools to help marketers measure cross-device conversions. Last year, after Google delivered cross-device reporting in AdWords, advertisers noticed an uplift in conversions reported when including this data. Now, conversion uplift benchmarks are available across multiple industries and in four countries – showing additional conversions that otherwise wouldn’t be attributed in AdWords using single-device measurements.

Because 90% of people start an activity on one device and finish it on another, it’s imperative that marketers measure cross-device conversions. To help you do just that, Google has put together a new Best Practices Checklist for Optimizing to Cross-Device Conversions. Get it here.

For customer stories and product insights, read this post on the AdWords Blog.

Cross-device measurement is now available in DoubleClick, too. Check out this post for details.

Time is running out. Don’t forget to upgrade your URLs by July 1, 2015 to take advantage of a faster, easier way to manage your URLs in AdWords. With Upgraded URLs, you’ll be able to manage landing page and tracking information separately using the new final URL and tracking template fields.

Here’s what’s going down on July 1st:

  • You’ll no longer be able to edit or create Destination URLs. Any new URLs will need to be created using the new Upgraded URL fields.
  • Destination URLs will be automatically moved to the new final URL field for any ad groups in your account that do not contain cross-domain redirect URLs. You’ll receive an alert in your AdWords account to let you know about any remaining ad groups that were not upgraded.
  • Ads with destination URLs that have not been updated to Upgraded URLs will stop serving within the next few months. Google will give you 30 days’ notice by email and an alert in your account to let you know which ads are set to stop serving (unless, of course, you take the appropriate action and update them to Upgraded URLs).

More details and answers to frequently asked questions here.

For small business owners, your unique character is the key to your success and is the secret sauce that keeps your loyal customers coming back for more. Hailee Bland Walsh, the owner of City Gym in Kansas City, uses Google My Business to promote her business’ open, welcoming atmosphere and promote her gym as a safe place where everyone is welcome. Walsh believes her gym “should be more than a place to workout. It should be a place to belong.”

In recognition of LGBT Pride Month, Google and Your Business shares a powerful story about Jake, who recently returned to City Gym for the first time after having surgery, for who City Gym has played a critical role in his transition from female to male. For Jake, City Gym has provided a safe place to explore his changing body and a supportive community for Jake and his friends. For more on this story and to watch a video showcasing Jake’s transition, check out this post.

 

Bing, what’s happening?

Bing is committed to helping users keep their data safe and secure. That’s why Bing supports the industry’s move to the use of TLS protocols as part of an ongoing effort to expand encryption across Bing’s networks and services. Bing has already been offering users the ability to encrypt search traffic for about a year and a half, but beginning this summer, Bing will begin to encrypt all search traffic by default.

A referrer string will continue to be used so that marketers and webmasters can continue to identify traffic coming from Bing. BUT, in order to improve privacy for users, the query terms will NOT be included.

Some limited query term data will be available through webmaster and advertiser tools including:

  • Search Query Terms Report
  • Universal Event Tracking
  • Bing Webmaster Tools

Get all the details on how this will impact your available search query data from each of the above sources in this post.

Broad match brings you more traffic, but we all question relevance from time to time. This is because the searcher’s interpretation of relevance varies pretty dramatically according to their unique personas, preferences, and trends.

For the past year, Bing has been working diligently to improve its matching technology to provide more quality, control, and, of course, volume. In fact, broad match can bring you 72% more clicks and 45% more conversions than exact match. Find out what Bing has been working on to make broad match better and more profitable for advertisers here.

It’s all about mobile in today’s advertising landscape. But how, exactly, is mobile playing out in your industry? To answer this question, Bing takes a look at seven industries to see how mobile phone use was impacting search in each of these verticals, including:

Check out this post for more details on the insights you can gain from evaluating Bing’s latest research effort.

Bing has also redesigned its Bing Ads Market Sizing Dashboard. Get the scoop here.

 

Thought leaders, what say you?

Want to save a few bucks – or, rather, get more value for your dollars? PPC Hero’s six ways to use Google Analytics for Ecommerce will certainly get you more bang for your buck. Read it here.

PPC as a testing ground? Say what? PPC Hero makes the case in this post.

What’s the real deal behind the inflated conversions some have been seeing since implementing Bing’s new Universal Event Tracking (UET)? 3Q Digital takes a look in this post.

Do you still use good, old-fashioned brainstorming for PPC inspiration and planning? If you’re not, you should be. Read this post from Clix Marketing to find out why tried-and-true, old-school brainstorming is still important in PPC.

Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) have been around for a while now, but some of you may have taken notice to longer headlines. These auto-generated headlines are supposed to be slightly longer than the standard text ad headline. But really, they’re so long that they look like organic links. See what Merkle|RKG has to say about it here.

Are you using these “smart” PPC strategies that are actually pretty dumb? WordStream clears up the confusion and reveals what’s really smart and what “smart” tactics to steer clear of. Read it here.

 

Lots to digest this week, folks. Particularly the news related to diminished search query data from Bing in the near future. But fear not, plenty of thought leaders will be devising clever tricks and hacks to help advertisers navigate around these soon-to-be holes in your data. And when they do, you can read about them here from yours truly. Enjoy the weekend, all!