Conversions in Mobile Era - Web Forms have had their Day!

Web Form Conversions are declining. That is the news which you either experienced or heard from your online marketing staff. Business Leads doesn't come the way it used to. Most people before contacting you have surely checked your web presence on at least two devices. So, mobile targeting is something you need to focus on. Here I must clarify mobile targeting doesn't simply mean ads on mobile. Even if someone is on desktop, if you don't have something for his mobile you are missing something.

Web Tracking and Conversion Figures are partially correct

The way businesses used to happen have changed considerably. First it changed in favor of online. That is why we considered everything online trackable. It laid the foundation of analytics and conversion tracking tools. Measurable ROI became the benchmark of online investment. Things changed with proliferation of different kinds of devices accessing web more conveniently. Desktops still rules the roost among all devices and we still consider it first deciding upon the layout of a webpage. However, a large part of decision making is influenced by mobile and other handheld devices which can serve you a webpage on the fly. No matter whether travelling, running, cooking or watching TV. If suggestion comes for spending a holiday somewhere, someone in the family is quick to look into details then and there and make an influence. Same is true with in an office. People are changing devices back and forth before coming to any conclusion & major part of it are not tracked!

Google claims, it extrapolates mobile data into All Conversion column, which you must take with a pinch of salt, but dismissing it altogether may too not be a wise idea given the fact Google owns Android platform which is used by a very big percentage of mobile users. So, we may assume Google knows which PC connects with which mobile and perhaps is capable of mapping and pairing them with clusters of devices used in decision making. Perhaps! Google too insists it is good for you if you believe this data. Its a Grey area and for those who are bogged into conversion data on dashboard its a bad news. Whole thing is too fuzzy.

You rather need to analyse things in larger perspective now. Just analyze it like other advertising program where you don't track outcome directly. To judge the success of ads you must look into the impact it generated on your overall business, ignoring what dashboard figure says.

Web form vs Mobile Forms

Forms served on mobile devices should be brief, intuitive and one which requires less typing, only then you can ensure they are not ignored. Also, make it limited to 3-4 fields max.

Form fill ups are still the most important part of conversions and gives you valuable insight about your prospects.

So, pull up your socks and give your mobile website a little bit more attention, everyday.

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Horizontal & Vertical shift in Google Ads

Google removed Right side search ads some 6 months back. With this the game of search changed a lot. This escalated the bids to new levels and all of a sudden the metrics like lost impression share and relative CTR started looking relevant. In fact every metric which you dismissed as junk on dashboard needs to be analyzed for refinement opportunities. Google's Webinar a while back announced gradual roll out of features like demographic bidding and complete device wise targeting and bidding on search. So, competition on search won't be limited to the vertical space, it has many dimensions and more to come in future.

Changes in Adtexts

All of you must have gone through new format of ads. Display Url has two vacant fields. Since you can't change first one which defaults to TLD of your Final Url, the fun of writing seems gone for good. So, the format would only be Probabaly, it has been done to keep ads along the line of Organic result's url structure, which shows breadcrumbs, like > Category > Subcategory. I'd suggest you to always keep the spirit of change in your mind while writing ads.

People advertising on Bing already are familiar with continuously running two lines that Google has introduced now. Only thing to keep in mind is that Two Headlines sometimes become too long and Google Truncates them at many places. It has been observed that truncation of headlines on Desktop are quite common and truncation of texts below headlines are common on mobile devices. So, keep them a bit shorter, to avoid it.

Some precious Valuetrack Parameters

Set up your Tracking Template with valuable tracking parameters, like {adposition}, {devicemodel} and {Random}. Analytics , utm freaks tend to overlook adwords tracking features, but adposition and random are unique parameters that can be tracked only through adwords. The Random number tagging will help you identify & match the url with other metrics and present it side by side analytics data.

After tagging you would get valuable adposition data reported as 1t1, 1t2 for above organic result appearance and as 1o1, 1o2.. for below organic result ads. You know how helpful these data are these days! With proper tagging you would also know how ads perform on different device models.

Top Content on Display

A hidden control for display ads. You must have noticed this tab in Display Campaigns under setting tab. It is meant for changing the bid of placements you have opted for. Name of the tab is not intuitive. However, in one shot you can change the bid of all the "managed placements" in your campaign to a 10%, 20%, 30% higher bids than automatic placemets and hence improve the impression share on the placements you have selected compared to those which system has automatically selected for you.

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Fix for Responsive Design of Blogger Designer Template

It is very Important to know that Designer templates like Popular "Simple Template", has no Wrapper element in their CSS, so it is futile to look into the solutions offered using them at many places. Also, You won't be able to detect and use css elements via Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox element inspectors, for what has been rendered. I would discuss important issues only.

Problem with hyperlinks, Landing on different Page Or Home Page

Many bloggers are using mobile template which has in built feature to append the urls with ?m=1, forcing the browser to open mobile version of the page. However, it creates its own problems. Instead of writing ?m=1 at the end of url, it writes something like resulting into, you being landed upon the Home Page instead of the page you wanted to land on.

To fix it, find this piece of code

if (screen.width <= 699) { document.location = "/?m=1"; }

in your template and replace it with:

if (screen.width <= 699) { document.location = document.URL + '?m=1'; }

Responsive Design without using Mobile Templates:

Many Bloggers have come out with solutions about this issue. Most of them are using wrappers and containers for resizing according to device width. However many templates including this one (Simple), I am using don't have wrappers. Good news is in fact these templates are Responsive by default. You don't need to write many media queries parameters for different width sizes. Just a very simple tweak does the trick. Simply, find the following code in your template:

body {
min-width: $(content.width);
.content-outer, .content-fauxcolumn-outer, .region-inner {
min-width: $(content.width)
max-width: $(content.width)
_width: $(content.width)

Change it to:

body {
min-width: $(device.width);
.content-outer, .content-fauxcolumn-outer, .region-inner {
min-width: $(device.width)
max-width: $(device.width)
_width: $(device.width)

With this simple tweak, you get the Responsive Design which adjusts according to the device width and you don't need to do anything. After doing it, you get the desired dynamic width adjustment and only other thing is to make your other size elements Fluid. Fluid means simply remove static size elements in pixel and start writing in percentage term. (PS: Although it is a good starting point to make your template responsive, keep experimenting till you have fixed every issue with responsiveness).

I've added following piece of code to limit the width of the blog,spreading too far. Just find .content-inner in CSS, and alter it like this:

.content-inner {
padding: 10px;
margin: 0 150px 0 150px;


Also, add a little piece of code like this one in CSS:

@media all and (max-width: 900px){

.content-inner , .columns {width:100%; margin-left:0 !important;margin-right:0 !important;}
#header-right {float:left}
#crosscol {
width: 80%;

Implementing all the above, You would exactly have website like mine. I need to work on Header and footer too. So, it is still not right time for saying Goodbye to the mobile template.

After coding for responsiveness, you may opt out of mobile template version of your blog. You will get a single Responsive Version of CSS which is compatible across every device. Cheers!

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Keywords are Curate's Egg, Make the Most of Them

Keywords are at the center of managing a search ad campaign.

You can further divide them into Exact, Phrase and Broad. They Provide targeting precision in the same order. Broad gives you really broad coverage of search queries, you need to block the bad part of it on routine basis. No matter how old and tight your campaigns are they will keep on surprising you. To a lesser extent same is the case with phrase too, however we can guess its bad part with reasonably good accuracy. Those who live and breathe exact matches find it too costly, sooner or later.

3 Solutions for Managing Keyword Match types

  1. All Match Types In the Same Adgroup

    An age old practice in adwords. Soon after finishing up with Keyword List, break them into Three Parts: [kw], "kw" & kw, then & there. If you remember, we used to set the bids too using asterix after them. You can bid on them in decreasing order starting from highest for exact and lowest for broad for the same keyword. Earlier, no matter how many times you have added the keywords, Google consolidated the stats for them and assigned same Quality Score irrespective of the match types. However, things have changed now and all are treated differently. There are reports that it is no more the most restrictive type which will reflect the stats, actually broad may compete with exact and phrase for same query. So, this technique though has the merit of simplicity, there are some caveats associated with it.

  2. Different adgroups for different match types

    Maintaining different adgroups for each match types allows you to add negative as exact in broad and phrase adgroups. So you go like this Phrase Adgroup will have Exact as negative and broad will have phrase as negative. In this way you will have traffic for each adgroups which does not interfere with each other and so you can set bids according to priority. This method achieves everything except for segregation of budget.

  3. Different Match types in different Campaigns

    To allocate different Budget which are allocated to each type you need to segregate them into Campaign. I had talked about penumbra match type, for brand keywords. However, no matter what match type you added Google blocks all the queries around it and it spills over to many keywords. So, to keep tab on them it is better to put them into different campaigns now. Also, keeping different match types in different campaigns will give you better ROI, because there is nil chance your bad keywords eating into the share of Good ones. So, if you are dealing with account that has limited number of keywords and accuracy matters the most, it should be implemented.

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The Best Way to Track Adwords Conversions

You can track adwords conversion in many ways. From Thank You Page tracking to import from analytics, to tracking via Tag Manager. There are different ways, and each has its own merit.

Thank You Page Conversion

Its the oldest and the simplest way of tracking conversions. You just have to download the code from your adwords account and paste it on a hidden page of the website, that is displayed only after completion of a process, you consider useful, like form submission. Though there are other new methods, I still prefer it. It doesn't make your other pages code heavy, its greatest merit. So, if it can be installed it should be your first priority. For websites which doesn't have too many kinds of form submission, it is still the best way to track conversions.

On Click Conversion Tracking

If you want to track clicks on some links or your website points to some third party payment gateway, where installing the code is not possible, tracking click on button is your best bet. For this again, you simply need to download the relevant code, from your adwords account, which is easy, and tag the links after a, like a YOUR ON CLICK CODE href="" with relevant tags. It will start tracking your onclick conversion. However, if your HTML Link contains Target_blank element, this method won't work. That is to say, if your links open in a new window, this method won't track it. Also, if it results into button freeze in some browsers then again you shouldn't install it.

Goal Imports from Google Analytics

This is preferred by Google analytics freaks. There are several caveats associated with it. One, very often it fails to give real time figures. What it gives are corrected after sometimes. Misleading enough, if you are on adwords dashboard. Two, Most often advertisers mix it with other kind of conversions, polluting the dashboard figure. Why not keep analytics limited to GA account. It looks nice, while analyzing it there, but messed up when mixed with Adwords Dashboard. I love to see adwords data inside analytics but hate to see its data on adwords dashboard. Just keep few metrics like bounce rate on adwords dashboard. No need to clutter it with too many imports from there.

Conversion Tracking via Tag Manager

You need to create an account in and download the container code from there. Once you paste it all across your website, you can manage what to track via a configurable dashboard. You can load conversion code via it and it is compatible with many services apart from adwords like analytics, linkedin etc. So, no need to paste code again and again on your website. Simply get some ids like conversion id, label id etc and configure it through web interface. It is very beneficial for tracking form submission if you have different kinds of forms across the website at different places. It can identify forms easily if you are using standard html coding and has <form></form> element, otherwise you may have to tweak it further and let it sniff through some class and other ids. It does make it a bit complicated but its worth attempting. Again, don't forget to tick off the option for validation, otherwise your subsequent pages won't load till all values are passed via this code. Don't go for too much accuracy, because page load time has to be your priority. When this was launched I didn't recommend it to anybody because of this issue only. However, it has the option to deactivate. You can easily track link clicks via this too, even if your link opens in a new window. In this way it gives you maximum with minimum efforts.

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Good Cop Google leans left leaving Right hang out and dry

What is Left?

You do Adwords Marketing, Right way or Wrong Way. Right way is strictly following all the guidelines in letter and spirit. Google adwords was created in such a way as to reward the honesty and punish the wrong no matter how sneaky they are. It was true in the initial phases of adwords marketing. Google has broken the mold it was cast in, long back. Right Wing practitioners of adwords marketing who bought into the idea of radical honesty on internet marketing should be alarmed or be ready to get edged out by ones who are not right but fits into Google's scheme of doing the semblance of legality, hence not wrong either. Prod at Google for quality check falls flat.

Free Voucher Economy Thriving

In fact good number of agencies have made fortune out of free voucher program. A little gaming with the system allows them rake in huge profit by quoting to advertisers at the fraction of Click cost & running adwords at zero cost. Another trick employed is using $100 coupon(meant for US account only) in new account and then request to turn it into Rupee account after which about Rs7000 becomes the free credit value. Some claim Google automatically turns them into rupee account detecting Indian mobile number during SMS verification. This loophole is deliberately created to benefit to whom it is communicated. You should know Indian new accounts are eligible for Rs3000/- max. free credit Only. Google's benefit is, they help push the click cost in auction upward and make some honest advertiser pay higher. Google has altered TOS for applying these vouchers to pander to these bad boys of PPC. When I last checked Terms & Condition, I could find this poorly written document with a conspicuous grammatical mistake, promising credit in your account after "an minimum" spent. It tells on them, how much analysis has been done and how many people actually care about reading it. Clearly, Google didn't even check it back after posting.

Tech Support ads still run

Its an industry created by Google. You know Microsoft Bing pulled itself out of this murky business by categorically declaring Third Party Tech Support won't be allowed on Bing Platform. It is in black & white and talking to Bing support I felt they are in no mood to cut you some slack. In contrast, Google has no cut and dried version on this business. It continues to play fast and loose on this front. Most of its sales partners, SMB, Google authorized, blah blah.... were heavily dependent on this industry and may not like to be saddled with other kind. So, you still find some ads in this category running on Google, terms of which are not above board.

Double Serving is an art

Google in 2008, relaxed double serving rules. It has four points out of which at least two should not be breached. 1) Two websites should not be owned by same person. 2) Brands & Logo should be different. 3) Pricing difference should be more than 25%. 4) It should not lead to same customer support experience. If co. X & Y, points you to same customer support after buying then they are one and same breaching the fair use policy of ad network.

Despite all said about it. It is considered an art by many and Google turns blind eye towards them. In fact some agencies, close to Google, are considered specialist in this area. Talking to some advertisers, it was revealed, Google recommends them or rather they are "Authorized".

Abuse of Invoicing Account

Google extends direct invoicing privilege to some advertisers with good credentials fulfilling both regular account spent and legal norms. However, it has been brought to my notice that several advertisers get this privilege even if they fall short of requirement. In fact these accounts are abused to run Free PPC by many agencies who are in cahoots with some Google India Reps. Higher Threshold is set for payment which are never reached actually and so they are never billed. They also keep on creating New invoicing accounts using fictitious credentials to run Free PPC at regular interval in collaboration with Google! One guy confided some "Mr. V" is so smart and have such great insider track that every detail of click and cost is reset or wiped off after some time, looking like the account had never run in the past. Having myself seen a disapproved ad mysteriously turning into approved, I can't doubt this claim either.

It is the common observation of PPC guys around the globe, if your ads run 24x7 and you are willing to pay a decent amount to Google then Google seems more than willing to cut you some slack. They only pick on small advertisers.

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Right Side Search Ads Disappeared- Implications !

Post February, 23rd, 2016, Google Adwords has stopped showing Paid Ads on Right Hand side of the search result pages.

To adjust with the new situation, advertisers need to tune their campaigns.

Following Implications are immediate concerns:

  1. Reduced number of ads will show on the Search Result Page. Although Google has increased the number of Top Listing from 3 to 4, this is only for Highly Commercial queries
  2. Search ads will show on Top and bottom of the Organic Results. It means number of ads on a page will vary from 3to7. How frequent bottom ads shows is not certain. Even if we assume 7 ads on a page, its a drop from earlier 11-14. Huge!
  3. Only Exception so far disclosed are Product Listing Ads, PLAs Or Shopping ads, which are eligible to appear on the right side.
  4. It is not clear whether, ads without extensions and all other bells & whistles are allowed to enter the Top or not. Documented Position so far which perhaps still holds is such ads get preference. So, if your campaign contains only ads and keywords, they will be worst hit with this change.

Your To-Do List after the change:

  1. Immediately extract Top Vs Other Report and calculate the bid to cope with the situation.
  2. Study the Competitors Report via Details tab. How many have outranked you how many times and figure out How to survive in the changed ecosystem.
  3. Create as many extensions as possible. Although only 3 can show at a time, you never know which will give you extra punch and impressions, when others fail to trigger.
  4. Make your campaign as much feature loaded as possible. More features you add more likely they are to appear
  5. Elevate your bidding to the level of CPA/Portfolio. It would act as a hedge against crazy competition. Let Google’s algorithm take care of your Cost of Acquisition.
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Policy Announcement and Compliance improves website's Traffic

It might not be too late to wake up to the fact that stage is set where SEO, the term hackneyed enough to mean optimization for traffic through anything on the web, has a lot to do with Policies set by different channels which must be followed to get better exposure.

You can easily break it broadly into Google, Bing, Facebook & twitter. Some may add yandex, yahoo, linkedin and perhaps reddit too. All have different policies with something in common, widely recognized as User Experience, UX.

However, user experience designing on search may be a different ball game compared to what it is on social media, where a lot depends on the context when you release the content. So, its a tricky affair actually. Also, too much meta marking for social media may adversely affect search result.

Hence, to maintain edge you must position yourself better where others are ignorant. Policy compliance is such an area. If your site is up to date in terms of latest policies laid down by different search engines and social media it gives you an edge.

These are:
compliance to

  • Privacy Policy

  • internet cookies policy

  • content ownership & sharing policy

  • Comment Publishing Policy

  • Law of the land policy

  • Social accountability policy

  • Content Removal Policy

  • Did some of the policies discussed in the end looked bizarre? Well, you should not take them as such because the era in which we are living google, facebook... are trigger happy blocking the inflammatory content which lacks social accountability and whenever escalations take place their bot filters would be happy to detect and give you green signal. Make the list bigger and announce them emphatically. It works!

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    Entanglement of Keywords/Topics/Interests, the Spooky Action!

    Evolution of Entangled Targeting

    For a long time Keywords were the only way to define the context where ads should appear. A lot of Keywords were required to match the context correctly. With time Google upgraded its algorithm to single keyword matches. Now, you don't require many keywords to define the context, even a single keyword is enough. Google soon rolled out Topics and Interest, categorization of webpages and audience, and from here things became complex.

    Now, contexts are defined, by not only keywords but also Google's categorization of pages & audience, known as topics & interest. Just like early days of adwords when few people understood how to get around keyword targeting on display network, same was true with these new features too. Adding to the confusion were target and target & bid feature.

    Google does a great job by graphically representing the targeting on the side, but not many are masters of set theory, so the explanations about them on web by many bloggers are full of goof ups. If you understand union & intersection concept of sets then it should not confuse you, for more accurate analysis of what is happening just look into the spheres on side. It gives pretty good insight.

    So, there are three ways of contextual targeting, which is of most interest for you, which you can either keep separate or entangle them.

    Pure vs Entangled Targeting

    If you keep keyword, topics and interest in separate adgroups or campaigns, it would give you most wide coverage of each kind. If you add interest or topic or both with keyword then they become entangled and context and bid is defined by whether you have chosen, bid only or target and bid.

    If you have keywords in your adgroup, then they are always target & bid and you can't make it bid only. Using keywords entangled with topics helps refine targeting, where each of them alone may expose your ads on irrelevant pages. If you set up both as target and bid, it will result in decrease in exposure but definite enhancement in CTR and conversion rate. you may choose according to your requirement and competition you are facing. when competition heats up refinements of targeting is must. Same can be said about interest targeting. You can keep them separate or entangle with keywords or topics. Google charges 20% of CPC for identifying interest target audience, so its a tricky affair.

    Who are Interest audience & why you must watch them closely

    I don't want to receive call from people who are Marked Interested in SEM by Google. Why??

    They are people who are always searching for someone in the industry and for what you just guess. Same is true for many services. They are highly dissatisfied people. They are hard bargaining people. Worse, you will meet some cheats too who keep on changing service providers.

    I have got good result with interest categorization in diseases, homemaking, real estate and shopping goods targeting.

    Before using it, you must try to answer why should one use his computer so much that google should mark him.

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    Evolved from Apes with Tail, craves for a Scorpion Sting

    Sting Operation, spycam, hidden camera

    Backstabbing and Backbiting are dirty words. Unlike other species, human beings are not designed for any action or reaction that may arise from behind. A flat back with 180 degrees apart eyes focusing only on front, not behind you. We can say our human race throughout its evolution history hasn't needed anything on its back, ever since we lost our tail.

    Technology has given us instruments with which we can spy on others, within or out of our premises. We can even record & broadcast a private conversation. All this available at a very low monetary cost. The ubiquitous availability of mobile devices capable of carrying out such an operation, makes it a potential addition to human traits. Something god deprived the Human race of. Man is performing sting on other man. Its a trait which remained into hibernation for thousands of years.

    Mobiles, Spycams, hidden surveillance devices have the potential of changing the innate human behavior. If it is checked, it would be the manifestation of the same evolutionary force which shaped humanity in its present form.

    Every civilized state on earth guarantees its citizens certain laws to protect their privacy. An informal discussion, an intimate activity, a confidential meeting... all fall within the provisions of privacy. However, technological advancement has made breaching others' privacy such an inconspicuous affair, which tempts too many people, that every passing day makes the list of suspecting growing longer, shredding the society into fragments who are stung or fear it.

    Protagonists of this sting cult promises a clean and corruption free society through it. The idea of sting operations as a means to counter corruption is counter intuitive. its a sanctimonious approach which always involves the risk of your three fingers directed to yourself being exposed. Sometimes it raises many questions on the person performing it rather than on whom it is performed. Rampant use would surely drive the society to a state of loss of trust in each other. People who are in the habit of doing such an act would be loathed by others who value trust in any kind of public and private affair.

    Historically, spying activities were confined to a thin strata of the society. Common people had little concern with it. Wikileaks started leaking government related papers, it was a kind of alarm. It marked the end of secrecy in public life. Anything that can be carried through a cable can be tracked. Anything that is into ether can also be tracked. It is not just that these devices are lethal, they are combined with the real time dissemination power of internet, which gives them real power. Only a dreamer who was also sure of his dream's impracticability may have envisaged this outcome of internet era. Anything may come out in public, it is no more related to government documents alone. Poachers may catch your private moments and expose in public, no matter how ordinary you are. Whatsapp, youtube, facebook, twitter.. provides opportunities for point, shoot, share & lynch!! The array of events points to a pattern, which looks like an evolutionary landmark. Where human race goes from here?

    Image, creative commons license

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