[E-Book] 2022 Digital Marketing World Updates: Changes, What's To Come & Trends

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The digital world is always changing and evolving and, as digital marketers, we get to be the trail blazers on how to use new channels, technologies and techniques.

In our latest eBook, we've compiled the top digital changes of 2022 so you too can leverage the latest and greatest tools in our space.

Click Here

Flywheel News | October 2022 Hotel Digital Marketing News | GCommerce

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  1. Google Analytics 4 Adds New Reporting Features  

Google continues to roll out new features to GA4. The most recent announcements include Behavioral Modeling in Real-time GA reporting, new home page originally previewed at Google Marketing Live, custom channel reporting (one of our favorite new features), campaign manager 360 integration that will allow us to optimize our campaign bidding towards GA4 conversions and more. Read the full list here.

  1. Are You Overpaying For Metasearch?

Soaring media costs mean metasearch advertising budgets aren’t going nearly as far as they were a year ago. Which is one huge reason hoteliers are choosing Metadesk. Our pay-per-stay pricing model means you only pay for stays that take place. And our variable rate commission structure means you’ll never overpay. Learn more here.

  1. New Google Business Profile Search Menu Rolling Out 

A new way to edit your Google Business Profile is currently rolling out in the SERP. business owners can now easily search and make edits to their business listings from the search results page. Learn more here.

  1. Why You Should Be Using Google Business Posts

Are you familiar with Google Business Posts? If you’re using GCommerce for local SEO services, this is a tactic we include. But what are they and can they help your hotel’s visibility in the search results? Read here to find out.

  1. Hotel Metasearch Marketing Optimization Techniques Webinar

Did you miss the recent hotel metasearch webinar by GCommerce on tactics to optimize your hotel metasearch campaigns? Don’t worry; watch the replay here.

  1. Meta Shares New Insights To Improve Ad Performance 

 It’s not news that recent privacy laws and changes have changed things on Meta advertising platforms. In response to advertiser frustration, Meta just launched its new Performance 5 framework to guide on how to improve advertising performance on the platform. As with any recommendations straight from the platform, we recommend testing them to ensure they actually lead to improved performance for your KPIs.  Learn more here.

Why You Should Be Using Google Business Posts

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Introduced only in 2017, Google Business posts are fairly new to the search marketing scene. But don’t let that fool you. Google Business posts can be an incredibly valuable tool for local SEO, and they shouldn’t be overlooked.

Many businesses ignore or give up on Google Business posts due to their lackluster performance when it comes to direct views and click throughs. However, there’s a hidden benefit to sticking with it. While Posts may not be overwhelmingly successful on their own, posting somewhat regularly can improve your rank in Google’s algorithm, causing your Google Business Profile to be shown more often and generating awareness for your business. 

What Are Google Business Posts?

Google Business Posts can cover a variety of topics, with post types including “Events,” “Offers,” the open-ended “What’s New,” and more. These posts appear as part of your Google Business Profile listing, showing in both Maps and the standard Google results page.

Here’s an example of a “What’s New” and “Events” post on the general results page. 

Every post type is a little different, but each one offers a number of optional call-to-action buttons, such as “Learn more” and “Order online,” as well as the option to add an eye-catching image. 

All post types will disappear from your Google Business Profile eventually, which is why it’s so important to post regularly.

Putting Google Business Posts To The Test

Below, we’ve compiled data to help determine whether Google Business posts are worth the time and effort. 

This test was conducted across 5 boutique hotels, comparing user metrics between the 3 months before and after we started using Google Business Posts. While exact post frequency varied, each property posted at least once per month during this test, using a variety of “What’s New” and “Event” posts. 

“New Users” was pulled from Google Analytics, and only includes traffic from the Source/Medium combination of google / organic. Google Map Views was provided by Yext, a platform for managing Local SEO listings. 

While “Google Map Views” did not always increase (likely due to external factors such as seasonality and search volume), the change in performance for this metric was significantly better across all 5 properties than the change for “New Users.” These differences are not insignificant either, providing fairly convincing evidence that regular Google Business posts will increase your standings in the Google algorithm and lead to more awareness. 

Key Takeaways About Google Business Posts

If you aren’t using Google Business posts, you should start now. While they may not bring in a ton of traffic on their own, they’re an incredibly effective, and fairly easy, way to increase your business’ visibility on Google. 

GCommerce Solutions has already incorporated Google Business posts into our arsenal of standard Local SEO tactics, and we encourage you to do the same. If you’re interested in learning more about Google Business posts or other Local SEO tips, check out the rest of our digital marketing blog or contact us below.

Flywheel News | September 2022 Hotel Digital Marketing News | GCommerce

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  1. New Price Accuracy Policy for Google Hotel Ads Goes Into Effect on October 10th 

Price Accuracy is a major element in optimizing your Google Hotel Ads’ performance. Google’s new privacy accuracy policy goes into effect on October 10th. Read the new policy here and make sure your hotel ads and booking engine landing page is in compliance or else you could run into major performance issues, including your campaigns being shut off by Google.

2. Google Ads Renames Google Ad Extensions to Assets

Google has officially re-named ad extensions to assets. Part of the reason comes from the fact that ad extensions are part of the assets, along with headlines and descriptions, that make up the entirety of an ad. What we’re excited about is to have reporting for these “assets” alongside headlines and descriptions for an easier to evaluate, more holistic view of the ad’s asset performance. Read more here.

3. Google Announces Innovations During Search On 2022 

Every year at it’s Search On event, Google announces the latest innovations coming to it’s search product. At this year’s event Google touched on updates including making search more intuitive with multisearch  with images and text, business messaging via search ads and more. Discover more here.

4. GCommerce Hosts Metasearch Marketing Optimization Tips Webinar

Metasearch is one of your best tools for increasing direct traffic and recapturing market share from OTA’s, but only if you’re optimizing your metasearch advertising campaigns. Watch the replay here.

5. LinkedIn Adds New Features for Company Pages 

LinkedIn launched a few new features for Company pages in September 2022 including making post template type available for all company pages as well as link stickers to drive more direct response to company page updates. Learn the latest here.

6. TikTok Expands Description field to capitalize on it’s platform’s role in Discovery

Back in July a Google exec suggested TikTok was eating into Google’s core products of Search and Maps. Captiailzing on it’s emerging role in consumers’ discovery process, TikTok has expanded it’s description field from 300 characters to 2,200 characters to assist with search. If you’re active on TikTok make sure you’re taking advantage of this expanding character count and approaching it from a search optimized perspective.

7. Have You Started Your Holiday Campaign Planning?

It’s that time of year! Cyber Weekend and the holidays will be here before you know it. Make sure you are prepping any promotion and package details now to get over to your digital marketing teams for prep and creation.

An Overview of Google’s Helpful Content Update

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Google's big push with it’s latest algorithm update, named the helpful content update, is taking aim at pages that are solely produced for search engines and not users.  A lot of this targets pages with content auto-generated by AI writing apps or not providing original content/value on whatever the page topic is about. GCommerce’s SEO and content recommendation focus has always been with an emphasis on creation for people but making sure to use SEO best practices as outlined by Google. I think this article by Google really outlines how any website should think about Google’s helpful content update in an easy-to-understand format. 

Our suggestions remain the same as they have been. That pages should have rich, original content, and then the content provided should also integrate SEO optimization best practices based on Google's guidelines to position the page in the best way to achieve success in the SERPs (and avoid crazy performance issues when algorithm changes occur). We never attempt "black hat" tactics or tactics geared solely at search engines without first considering the value to someone coming to the site looking for the type of product or search topic we are optimizing that page for. If you have used auto-generated/AI content or simply created pages with low-value content for the sake of search engine ranking and it doesn't provide value to someone researching that topic, then we would recommend updating it or removing it from your site.

Want to understand if your site is impacted by Google’s helpful content update as it rolls out over the next couple of weeks? Since it is an update that adds the signal as one of the many signals Google uses in the algorithm. The best place to monitor overall performance continues to be within Google Search Console performance reports. You can also add another layer of reporting by monitoring your positions through a platform such as SEMRush and keeping an eye on your Analytics organic traffic. 

This update by Google was maining focused on eCommerce product sites and entertainment-related sites as you can tell by some of the language used in it’s Google update/release article, but I think it's a great reminder for all businesses across any industry that it's important to optimize their site experience and content for users while also making sure to follow SEO best practices for optimization. We’ve always viewed the two (optimizing for people and great SEO best practices) to have a ton of overlap if done correctly. 

Have questions or think your site may have been impacted? Please reach out to our search experts with any questions.

3 Underutilized Google Ads Optimization Tips For Hotels

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The number one rule of search marketing is to never stop testing. You never know where you’ll find the next golden goose, so it’s important to try new things and reach outside of your comfort zone. GCommerce Solutions knows this, and we’re not afraid to experiment with lesser-known optimization methods to make sure we’re achieving the best possible results. 

Below, we’ve compiled test data for 3 often underutilized Google Ads optimization techniques. These tests were conducted over 2-3 months each, using data from 9 boutique hotels spread across the United States. 

Implement A Paid Search Ad Schedule

Consumers don’t interact with your business the same way all the time, so it’s a good idea to tailor your hotel’s paid search ads to your audience’s schedule. 

While the data below measures account-level changes, paid search ad schedules work best when tailored to an individual campaign’s performance. This is how paid search ad schedules were implemented for these 3 hotels: 

Branded Terms:

+10% bid adjustment on days/times with high conversions

-50% bid adjustment on days/times with low clicks and low conversions

0% bid adjustment on all other times, so ads always have the potential to serve

Non-Branded Terms:

+10% bid adjustment on days/times with high clicks/impressions

-50% bid adjustment on days/times with high average CPCs but low clicks and low impressions

0% bid adjustment on all other times, so ads always have the potential to serve

Percent Change By Paid Search KPI:

Account-Level, Period Over Period

Overall Paid Search Ad Schedule Results:

All Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) saw an average increase in performance.

Conclusion:

Regardless of your hotel’s marketing goals, an ad schedule can be a helpful addition to your Google Ads campaigns. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to create and monitor an ad schedule based on individual campaign performance, this is a great way to give your KPIs a boost.

Keyword Optimize Your Paid Search Ad Paths

Ad paths are an often overlooked part of paid search marketing, but it’s worth taking the extra step to optimize them and make your ads more relevant. 

Paid search ad paths show up as part of the display URL of an ad. In this example, “hotel” is display path 1 and “digital-ads” is display path 2.

This test was performed using single keyword ad groups. Every single ad in the account received optimized ad paths based on the ad group’s associated keyword.

Percent Change By Paid Search KPI:

Account-Level, Period Over Period

Overall Keyword Optimized Paid Search Ad Paths Results:

All KPIs saw an average increase or no significant change in performance.

Conclusion:

This is another helpful optimization tip for various paid search account goals, and requires far less maintenance than an ad schedule. Editing ad paths can be tedious, but it’s worth using every single inch of space you’re given to optimize performance. Just be sure to keep up with paths, adjusting as needed when creating new ads or copying existing assets.

Don’t Neglect Negative Keyword Research

Positive keywords can help you reach new people, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be new customers. Negative keyword research is an effective safeguard to ensure you’re not putting paid search budget towards the wrong audience. 

This test included generalized keywords like “X Rated” and “Apartment,” as well as hotel-specific keywords such as competitor names and inaccurate locations. Every negative keyword was added with an “Exact” match type.

Percent Change By Paid Search KPI:

Account-Level, Period Over Period

Overall Negative Keyword Research Results:

Raw actions and revenue saw an average decrease in performance, but interaction rate and comparative revenue saw an average increase.

Conclusion:

Depending on your goals, well-thought-out negative keyword research can be incredibly effective for paid search campaigns. By design, negative keywords decrease the visibility of your ads, so they can lead to less overall traffic. However, this traffic is often very qualified, and will interact with your business at a higher rate to maximize your account budget. 

Key Takeaways

There are so many available paid search optimization tools, and it’s a shame to see them go to waste. If you’re willing to put in the work, the above Google Ads optimization tips are likely to work in your favor, despite their somewhat uncommon utilization. Results are never guaranteed, but tailoring these changes to specific campaign performance is a great opportunity to push your KPIs in the right direction.

If you’re interested in learning more about paid search for hotels, check out the rest of our digital marketing blog or contact us below.

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