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Performance Max – Boost Your Ecommerce Sales with Automation

Are you struggling to increase your ecommerce sales? Have you tried running Google Ads campaigns but didn’t see the results you expected? If you’re looking for ways to optimize your online advertising, you might want to consider Google Ads Performance Max.

What is Google Ads Performance Max?

Google Ads Performance Max is an automated advertising solution that helps ecommerce businesses to reach a wider audience and drive more sales. PMax uses machine learning to optimize your ad placements and targeting, helping you to achieve your advertising goals more efficiently.

How Does Google Ads PMax Work?

PMax works by analyzing your ecommerce website, identifying the products or services you offer, and creating relevant ads that will be shown to people who are interested in your offerings. The system uses data from your previous campaigns to learn about your customers’ behavior and preferences and create the best possible ad experience.

Benefits of Using Google Ads PMax for Ecommerce

1. Increased Reach: PMax uses machine learning to optimize your ad placements, which means that your ads will be shown to people who are most likely to convert, regardless of their location or device.
2. Improved Ad Relevance: Performance Max analyzes your ecommerce website and creates relevant ads that are tailored to your products or services. This helps to increase the relevance of your ads, which can lead to higher click-through rates and conversion rates.
3. Time and Cost Efficiency: With PMax, you don’t need to spend time creating and managing your ads manually. The system automates the process, which can save you time and money on ad spend.
4. Better Performance: PMax uses machine learning to optimize your ad placements and targeting, which can lead to better performance and higher conversion rates.
5. Easy Set-Up: Setting up Performance Max is easy and straightforward. All you need to do is connect your ecommerce website to your Google Ads account, and the system will take care of the rest.

How to Get Started with Google Ads Performance Max?

To get started with Google Ads Performance Max, you need to have an active Google Ads account and an ecommerce website. Once you’ve set up your account, you can connect your website to Performance Max and start creating your campaigns. The system will automatically create ads and target the most relevant audience for your products or services.


Google Ads Performance Max is an excellent option for ecommerce website owners who want to optimize their advertising campaigns and drive more sales. With its automated system and machine learning capabilities, Performance Max can help you reach a wider audience, improve ad relevance, and increase conversion rates. If you’re looking for ways to improve your ecommerce sales, contact the league of advertising for more information.

Google Smart Shopping is ending in 2022

eCommerce companies take note. Google has officially decided to kill off their Smart Shopping Campaigns and migrate everything over to Performance Max. Sad news to most of us who have been consistently running 5x > 10x return on the greatest eCommerce ads available.

But fear not.

It’s being replaced with something potentially a whole lot better!

As a reminder, Performance Max is built on Smart Shopping Ad Tech, with DSA Ad Tech layered in and utilises all Google digital real estate where applicable.

The official migration timeline is as follows:

  • Performance Max to replace SSC (auto-upgrade is the language) from July-Sep 2022
  • 1-click migration tool available in April 2022 for SSC if you want to manually upgrade early.

The full Google announcement can be found here.

What should I do to prepare?

Well, the good news is the Merchant Centre and most of the Google Smart shopping set-up remains the same.

However, as Youtube will be a big feature of Performance Max, we highly recommend that you create several corporate/eCommerce content videos (hosted on Youtube) to show off your product range and brand.

That way, you will maximise the exposure Performance Max allows and will result in increased sales.

Contact us

If you own an eCommerce website and wish to know more about Performance Max ads and how it can increase your sales, simply email to find out more.

We have been running Google ads since 2004, and managing millions in ad spend, experience & expert analysis is always guaranteed with the League of Advertising Ltd.

Google releasing FREE Shopping listings (not ads)!

In an attempt to combat coronavirus as people can’t shop physically but go online instead, and companies pulling marketing spend Google have announced they are to allow their most successful e-commerce ad product – Google Shopping Ads or PLA’s to feature in a free listing.

Note: They aren’t allowing the ads to be free, rather they are offering a free listing within the shopping tab.

Big difference!

Now whilst this is great for e-commerce companies, I can’t help be suspicious (you know me when it comes to Google) that this is more to do with the massive growth in Amazon sales during this crisis, and our chums at Google see an opportunity to grab market-share.

From May, Google will allow e-commerce companies to show their products across Google Shopping tab (not the SERPS’s page) you need to be running Google Shopping ads for that.

But it’s a lovely opportunity for online retailers to feature their products when people search on Google.


Obviously you won’t feature unless you have a Google Merchant Centre account (GMC Account) and all the usual attributes needed still apply.

But it has to be a welcome development at this uncertain time for retailers.

If you already have a GMC account, please ensure you opt into “Surfaces across Google”. That way, you will feature on the free listings.

At the moment, this is only applicable to the USA, but Google will roll it out worldwide throughout 2020 so the time to set it up is now.

Shopping ads remain unaffected

Google Shopping Ads do take primacy on the organic search page as a premium placement.

So when someone searches for your product, you appear on the initial search results page as a paid shopping placement. (See below)


The free listing only appears if a user then selects the shopping tab at the top of their results page. So in terms of UX this is a further hurdle to get here but there will be shoppers who will go through the extra step.


If you need any Google Shopping advice or wish to know on scaling up sales through Google Shopping ads simply email to find out more.

Getting started on e-commerce’s most powerful sales tool – Google Shopping Ads

PPC, Pay-per-Click, Google merchant centre, PLA ads…..

It can seem an arduous task getting start on Google Shopping ads. Thankfully we have been through this process many times and can offer advice on how to set up the basics and get you head around Google Merchant Centre and Google Shopping Ads.

What is Google Shopping Ads?

Google shopping ads or PLA’s are the image based search results that come back when you search for a brand, product or e-commerce product on Google and (Bing).

Google Shopping Ads
Google Shopping Ads

These ads are essential for any e-commerce store as it delivers rich search results based on a users search. Google Shopping Ads are your way to promote your products on Google Shopping. They are CPC ads where you pay when a user clicks on your ad and land on the exact product page on your e-commerce store.

Shopping Campaigns are one of the main growth drivers for e-commerce stores. They get 87% of the search budget of retailers (source: Merkle Digital Quarterly report Q3 2018) and have increased their share of total store orders by 160% in the last 2 years. Therefore, they are indeed a traffic source that lives up to the hype.

Merkle Digital

3 Pillars to success

As with everything that is effective in e-commerce, setting up Shopping Ads can be frustrating and cumbersome. I know many in-house web managers who simply cannot get their heads around the task as it requires a level of technical ability and liaising with your development team (many out-sourced) to successfully implement the basic feed.

In essence, your SKU’s need to go to your Google Merchant Centre and from there Google Ads scrape the data to publish the results on the SERP’s page.

Sounds easy?
In our experience, many companies get stuck on setting up a successful Google Merchant Centre feed. For more information on setting up the feed to your Google Merchant Centre click here.

After your business data is implemented, and your feed is up and running you can do wonderful things like adding custom labels and also create Google Shopping Promotions.

Google Shopping promotions are a wonderful way of increasing CTR’s (20% in our experience) by simply having more visual presence.

Our client James Pirie enjoy the benefits of Google Shopping Promotions


If you are in e-commerce and not running Google Shopping Ads, then you are simply missing out on the best Google ad creation ever invented.

Scaling up

Google have also loosened up the rules in running Shopping ads in other countries. Originally, both your landing page and currency had to reflect your visitors location, however if English is a popular language in a country like the Netherlands for example, then you can run ads without the need for geo-language switching.

Also, with a UK currency feed – Google will allow automatic currency conversion using their own currency conversion data.

This means rapid scalability with the single feed set-up.

The effectiveness of these ads cannot be underestimated. And that’s before chatting about mart shopping, showcase shopping ads, promotions and Google shopping actions which is going to be a direct competitor to Amazon….. if it ever gets out of Beta.

It is available in the U.S. and France.

If you need any Google Shopping advice or wish to know on scaling up sales through shopping Ads simply email to find out more.

Google Ads can now track offline store visits.

This. is. critical. if. you. own. retail. stores.

Finally, we can now measure effectiveness of our Google Ads and other PPC strategies that drive footfall to your physical bricks and mortar store.

Google generously wants to help you understand how AdWords paid search campaigns influence those physical store purchases.  They deliver that generosity for the lucky businesses that can see “Store Visit” conversions in their AdWords account.  This is generally going to be hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. It is released in beta format.

This is an amazing addition for businesses in Northern Ireland especially, where a high percentage of online activity leads to an actual in-store purchase.

Google store visit conversions are available to a limited number of AdWords advertisers. In order to be eligible to measure store visit conversions you need to:

  • Have multiple physical store locations in eligible countries.
  • Receive thousands of ad clicks and many store visits.
  • Have a Google My Business account linked to your AdWords account.
  • Create each of your store locations in your Google My Business account.
  • Have at least 90% of your linked locations verified in Google My Business.
  • Ensure location extensions are active in your account.
  • Have sufficient store visits data on the backend to attribute to ad click traffic and pass Google’s user privacy thresholds.

Store visit conversions are determined using data from users that have opted-in to share their mobile device location history and are signed into a Google account, and also from users that are like them based on a highly accurate algorithm, which extrapolates data for non-signed in users.

How it works

Store visit data is based on anonymous, aggregated statistics. Google Ads creates modeled numbers by using current and past data on the number of people who click or view your ads and later visit your store.

Store visit data can’t be tied to individual ad clicks, viewable impressions, or people. Google use industry best practices to ensure the privacy of individual users.

Small numbers in store visit reports

Occasionally, store visit reports may show low numbers, even “1.” This can happen if you’re looking at data on more detailed level, such as segmenting by device. Because numbers are modeled and anonymized, “1” does not actually mean that that one person clicked or viewed an ad and then visited your store. Instead, it’s better to read this as a value close to one, or an average of one.

While this data can give you a sense of the breakdown of your campaign performance, store visit reports are more precise when the numbers are larger. So, to evaluate your campaign performance, we recommend using reporting levels with at least 100 store visits.

It’s also important to note that even when the reports present small numbers, our privacy techniques ensure that store visit data can’t be tied to individual people.

Get registering on-site store visits.

Want to get set up with this latest tracking conversion? Just email Marco at to find out more.

Can advertising be classed as User Experience?

This is something I have been wrestling with for sometime. On a holistic level, yes. Advertising is an experience from a user’s perspective, trigger’s emotion…. an experience, and indeed the better the experience the more successful the advert – right?

Maybe not.

Then again I suppose everything is advertising, even when you dress to impress a potential date. Is that not a form of advertising?

UX in a pure technical user interface capacity is a highly-skilled arena, and folk like Gareth Dunlop and the team at fathom are blazing a trail for brands developing and creating better user experience’s online and indeed offline.

But what about today’s always-on consumer? They’re online – most of the time, so should advertising not become part of UX?

Digital brand experiences are having an inordinate sway on consumer purchasing habits and brand affinity.

For example, 65% of U.S. consumers report a digital experience changing their perception about a brand (either positively or negatively) and 97% of that group report that the same experience ultimately influenced whether or not they went on to purchase a product from that brand. In a nutshell, experience matters. A lot.

 The lines seem to become more and more blurred.

5 mistakes companies make when advertising on Facebook

There have been thousands if not millions of articles written about Facebook advertising, and I want to take this opportunity to deal with Northern Ireland exclusively.


We have been running Facebook campaigns for many years now. I’m constantly surprised at the lack of knowledge out there regarding the potential of Facebook – and Instagram – and how it can help local businesses generate valuable new leads.

First of all, I want to make something clear: Facebook is NOT a PR tool.

Whilst PR can form an engaging part of Facebook as part of an overall content strategy, if you constantly post pictures of “look at me” type content, you are missing out on huge areas of lead generation and new business opportunities.

Social media, and indeed Facebook, is not a “young person’s” platform. The younger demographic would primarily use instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and utilise Instagram when sharing peer to peer.

Here are five things to consider when advertising on Facebook:

1. Liking a post is not the same as liking a page

We’ve all been there. A post is generating hundreds of likes but your Facebook page audience doesn’t appear to be growing at the same rate.

This comes from a change Facebook brought in a few years back to stop spam competitions and “fake” likes, and to improve the overall experience for Facebook users.

But there is a way to counter this – even in retrospect.

Simply click on the sentence below the post detailing the number of likes and reactions – up pops a list of people who have interacted with the post.

Then “invite” them to like your page, and they will receive a notification to do just that.

It’s a good way of organically getting people to follow your page.

2. The targeting is superb, but the numbers aren’t accurate-

Facebook trumps Google when it comes to targeting. There’s no better platform for demographic and interest-based identification than facebook. However, did you know there are more 18-year-olds on Facebook than there are on planet Earth? How does this happen?

-Put simply, a lot of teens will set their default age to 18, thinking it’s a pre-requisite to having a Facebook page. Thus Facebook believes there are millions more 18-year-olds than there are.

According to Facebook, there are 1,000,000 people in Northern Ireland on Facebook & Instagram.
This simply isn’t accurate. In reality, there are around 200,000 active individuals on these channels in Northern Ireland. So take the targeting with a pinch of salt. However, bear in mind that the targeting is highly effective, and advertising costs reflect this. And so 200.000 engaged is a huge number in the local context.

3. Campaigns automatically select Instagram as a placement

Facebook owns Instagram, and when creating campaigns using Facebook Power Editor it will pre-select Instagram as a placement. Instagram’s primary audience would be the under 25s and Facebook informs us there are approximately 200,000 people on Instagram in Northern Ireland (see above).

What this means is that unless you wish to target the under-25 market, you would be better deselecting Instagram as a placement and ensuring your whole budget goes on your Facebook demographic instead. Think of context here, and getting a better bang for your buck.

4. The dreaded 20% rule on images

Unfortunately, Facebook has invented a crazy rule stating that text should not exceed more than 20% of an image area. We have never worked out why this rule is there, but it means that text should be kept at a minimum.

Utilise Facebook’s 20% grid template to ensure you fall within their guidelines. Failure to do so may see your ad approved but highly limited in terms of exposure to your market – and yet you will be paying for it.

If creating an ad, we recommend having a title on the image or a logo, and then put any copy in the text spaces allowed accompanying the post.

5. Track your success

Facebook is a phenomenal marketing tool and without question should be used by most businesses. There are pitfalls however, and only trial and error can determine how effective it is for your company.

We suggest you add Facebook pixels to your website so you can track and measure any conversions you receive from your ads. This will give you infinitely more targeting options including re-marketing, which is a great way of showing your product or services to individuals who previously visited your website.

If you would like to know more about advertising on social media feel free to contact us for a chat and to download our free Facebook cheat-sheet.


BEWARE: Nicolas Cage causes drowning – Big Data Analytics

big data marketing
Ok, so the attention-grabbing headline is a bit spurious. But there’s a very important message that we need to follow as we move into the world of big data and marketing analytics. And for the folks reading this, I’m referring to big data (marketing) and not the other facets that are utilising data in this new world – security, data privacy, profiling etc.

The thing is with data, care must be taken at every step of a big insight project to ensure you don’t stumble into pitfalls which could lead to wasted time and money, and believe me the wrong directive or correlation from big data can be very expensive, business-ending even…

Think Gerald Ratner using code.

For the benefit of those who are interested in Nicolas Cage and the correlation of people drowning each time he releases a film, click below.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 11.05.26

Gleaning insight to this spurious correlation would mean, either finding another actor (bad for business MK1) or use Nicholas but employ 1000’s of life-guards to patrol swimming pools each time he releases a movie – (bad for business MK2).

It’s all tongue in cheeck of course. As we base a lot of our marketing strategies on insight, the power of big data becomes more relevant. However, making assumptions is a very dangerous thing, as Nicholas Cage knows full well.
Making the wrong decision based on your analytical data is very easy in inexperienced hands.

Big Data bring’s big responsibility.

Handling big data and analytical insight is business-critical. You should be leveraging all digital channels to gain insight to start with. If you’re not on social media, you are missing a huge opportunity, and more… insights and opportunities to listen to your audience and what they are saying about you.

You should be using Google Analytics and other data tools to find out how people behave on your Website/app.

Lastly, you should be installing an experienced team and hiring the right type of digital smarts to oversee any digital strategy for your business.

I’m off to improve my swimming, as Mr. Cage has a movie coming out later this year. Better safe than sorry, I suppose.

If you want to find out more about data-driven marketing contact the League of Extraordinary Advertising today & find out how we can deliver effective marketing for your business.

Advertising – the revolution will involve some television

The creative revolution is happening NOW!

From the classic agency model of art/copy teams liaising with media departments and client services, we are now entering the world of art/copy/code interacting with audiences and working in cohesion with clients as part of a business strategy.

We already see Madison Avenue, the global epicentre of the advertising world, doing away with media departments and directors and opening up audience departments and audience directors. Why?

Several reasons really, but the disruption that digital has created in the industry is set to snowball. If the business model of television advertising – so much the staple of any campaign can be diced into microscopic audience profiles and trackable programmatic media then theres going to be a huge shift in marketing.

You see it all began with the Internet. The internet was ushering in a new and disruptive information age, and failure to quickly evolve would result in the global annihilation of the media world as we know it. On the other hand, rapid evolution would allow these media businesses to feel fine.

Well, we know how that turned out. Lots of destruction. Lots of innovation. And an industry turned upside down.

Now it’s marketing’s turn.

While marketers and agencies did a better job than their media counterparts of adjusting to the new digital world order, marketing today is being disrupted down to its roots.

Reconciling marketing technology with human relevancy. Transforming into truly data-driven businesses. Brand touchpoints are now across mediums, devices and technology.

And along with all of this daunting complexity, greater and greater scrutiny.

Naturally enough, these expectations extend to marketers’ agency partners. And agencies’ challenge is to develop better, more relevant models that deliver against a new and still forming set of expectations.

Orchestrated digital interactions on a local and global basis are underpinned by advanced marketing automation and underscored by multitouch analytics and attribution all the way to ROI.

To be sure, every agency falls in love with its process. But what’s clear is that marketing as we knew it is giving way to marketing as it needs to be. Sophisticated marketing technology must be the backbone that supports the brilliant strategy and creative that great agencies are known for. Big data used effectively.

It’s the only way to find your footing in a world turned upside down… and the only way to win.

You need to out-think not necessarily outspend on mass-media.

Contact the League of Extraordinary Advertising today & find out how we can deliver effective marketing for your business.

Beyond 2016 – Retail brands become “Media brands”



It’s already happening, right from under your nose.

Does that mean brands are going to shift focus into a new industry? Of course not!

What I mean from the opening headline, is that every retail brand, and business will become media savvy and ultimately generate video, social and media content because that’s what the customers will engage with.

It’s not that they will become the next star on MTV, but media will become part of their story, it will be in their DNA.

Take social for example, that’s a medium. Retailers have finally realised the power of this medium to market to customers. Granted, a lot of businesses put the onerous task of social media marketing to junior members of their team – this is wrong, social needs clever handling and if using it for ecommerce – there’s an important sales cycle to be looked after. But these businesses would never have been engaged with this media unless consumer need demanded it.

The consumer is driving the desire for consuming media content and businesses are now reacting. Devices and technology are facilitating this drive.


Over the next ten years, those same technologies that are driving discount advertising will be giving marketers and business leaders a more sophisticated understanding of their customers. They will be able to parse vast volumes of customer data, and monitor and hold significant social media-based relationships. The knowledge and insights thus generated will turn marketers into key agents in the delivery of innovation and the creation of new layers of brand value.

Yes, the whole retail marketing world will have its clock set back to zero. We will see major areas of brand building innovation take over the role that advertising plays today.

Brand advertising will be a deep-dive experience. Imagine, watching a TV ad on your Smart TV, a real-time trigger lands on your tablet or mobile device from the ad, offering a rewarding, deeper experience. You then view more content about the brand, you tweet, post and share it with your friends and you are led, almost stealth-like to the purchase button.

Before you know it, you have bought it, reviewed your experience and shared it with your friends on a social network.

That digital eco-system will have been planned by the brand from the very beginning.

And it doesn’t end there, the brand now has your details, you’re an advocate and they can create additional layers of value and utility that can ‘lock’ you into their brand rather than have you switch to a competitor in the future.

The simple reality is that every brand will be a media brand. In tandem with brand experience and marketing products, brands will be focused on the overlap between content that informs a customer about products, services or propositions, content that educates them in its use or in the things they can do, and content that entertains them around the core proposition of the brand.

Are you ready for this brave new world?