With September 18th less than 4 months away, it's time to have another look over the search trends related to Scottish Independence.
That was over a year ago, and it's reasonable to assume that the proximity of the referendum and increased media coverage is likely to have considerably impacted the number of people searching for relevant information online.
Let's kick off with a quick look at the Twizz.co.uk visitor figures:
The vast majority of visitors find the site through google with searches including some variation on the theme of pros and cons. On average they spend just over a minute reading the page that sets out the most popular arguments for both sides, and then they leave, which is fair enough as there's nothing much else on that site for them to do.
So - using Twizz traffic as a base, there are definitely a lot more people searching for information on both sides of the argument.
If you read over the post from back in March, you'll know there is a massive amount of variation in the way people search for their independence info. The difficult part is attempting to identify the intent behind the search.
If someone types 'for Scottish independence' or 'against Scottish independence' into Google, what are they looking for - and for what purpose? Arguments to reinforce their debates amongst friends and family perhaps? Weighing up both sides of an argument? Maybe they're researching to prepare responses to those arguments.
Ultimately, we can only guess, or make assumptions - so what I'll do here is present some of the relevant information I can find and leave it to you to interpet the meaning behind the statistics as you see fit.
First of all, we need to understand the searches people are typing into Google. Here's an online spreadsheet with average monthly UK searches related to 'Scottish Independence'.
This data in itself is an interesting snapshot of how people in the UK phrase their searches for information, and as you scroll down you can see concerns about currency and EU membership are amongst the most searched for specific concerns.
Now we know the most popular related searches. Let's have a look at the trends.
UK searches in the last 12 months.
Major peaks in interest with the white paper announcement and the currency debate, after which we see a fairly steady level of searches which is likely to continue to increase until the referendum.
Just for the sake of it:
Gradually becoming live today (as the domain name transfers), we have a new site for Shepherd Roofing and Slating. The team at Shepherd Roofing cover a wide variety of roofing materials and construction types and the site is full of related content - loads of content!
We considered everything a potential customer might want to know about before picking up the phone for a roof repair, so we have pages about accreditation, testimonials, history (3 generations of roofers!). We've also included plenty of photos of their previous work, and rolled everything together into an easy to navigate, mobile friendly, responsive site, that's designed to really show off Shepherd Roofing's expertise and get them some great leads.
The technical optimisation is spot-on throughout this site, and we've included twitter, google+ and facebook - with auto updates where possible related to the website's blog (which Martin will be updating regularly) - please visit and have a browse: www.shepherdroofingandslating.co.uk
Here's a great promotional video for Party Pants, who we're doing some promotional work with just now.
They've got a fantastic proposition, a great brand, and a product that lends itself to social sharing on so many levels it hurts!
Keep an eye out for them and give them a call if you're planning a hen party.
Nearly every other time I talk to a small business about Adwords advertising, they mention things that either don't add up from a marketing perspective, or reporting methods that are designed to obfuscate the true cost of their advertising versus the cost of managing their advertising.
A typical example might be a customer who is paying a fixed monthly fee to an agency, say £500 for example, but isn't informed of exactly how much of that is spent monthly on clicks, and how much is management fee.
Click numbers, the cost of those clicks, and the amount of time spent managing an online advertising account on a monthly basis can vary massively depending on how you go about targeting your ads.
You could set up 1 ad to appear for one very specific term, and then show that as an example of an ad for a customer - e.g. "pet shop Glenrothes". That'll cost you about 20p a click, has hardly any competition, and around 30 people type that in every month - so total cost if they all click your ad is £6/month.
If that's all your advertising campaign consists of, and you don't get reports that split out ad cost and management fee, your agency just made £494. Additionally, it probably didn't take much management to keep that ad running.
Your agency should understand your market and be targeting all sorts of relevant search terms with a variety of ads to ensure you're attracting qualified traffic at whichever stage of the buying process you want.
The example above is a bit on the extreme side, but it's really important that at the very least you get a monthly report showing you the traffic your ads have generated, and how much the ads cost you.
A good agency will be transparent about how your budget is spent, and you won't mind paying a management fee because they'll be actively monitoring your traffic, click thru rates, ROI and effectiveness and testing new ads, looking for opportunities and suggesting new advertising ideas.
Because I'm listed as a contact for quite a few clients, I get the occasional adwords sales phone call, and listen to a lot of stuff that blatantly violates Google's third party policy (which applies to anyone who sells Google AdWords).
Here are a few of the salient points (those I've heard violated most often in bold):
Third parties should at minimum provide advertisers with monthly data on AdWords costs, clicks and impressions at the account level.e.g.
Mark's Pet Shop – AdWords report for July
Third parties may not engage in unclear, deceptive or harassing sales practices, including:
- Not spending a client's media budget in the agreed upon media, or deceptively diverting spend destined for AdWords inventory to other media.
- Claiming an ability to offer preferential discounts in the AdWords auction or to purchase keywords in bulk.
- Claiming to have an exemption from the AdWords auction.
- Implying that AdWords costs are based on the number of keywords selected and the budgets set.
- Suggesting to clients that Google sells AdWords for fixed prices (not through an auction or CPA process) when in fact they are not sold for fixed prices.
- Purposefully not using AdWords features that were agreed to with a client. For example, not using local geo-targeting when the client has asked you to target the ads locally.
- Advertising for or having other people take Google AdWords Certification Programme exams on your behalf.
- Harassing advertisers to use your services by, for example, cold-calling potential advertisers repeatedly, not respecting an advertiser's marketing or email opt-out preferences or putting undue pressure on them to sign up or stay with your agency.
Third parties may not misrepresent their relationship to Google, including:
- Claiming to be contacting advertisers on behalf of Google.
- Claiming to be Google.
- Claiming a third-party programme status with Google – for example, a Google Partner or AdWords Premier SMB Partner (unless so authorised by Google).
- Claiming or implying that you have a special working relationship or partnership with Google.
- Claiming that Google gives you a discount or special pricing.
- Claiming that Google gives you access to special ad positions.
To sum up: if you don't get reports about the impressions, clicks, and cost of your ads, or if your agency claims to have a unique discount or special pricing only available to them, or attempts to blend account management pricing into an opaque overall monthly fee - they're probably not a good choice.