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A change to insights on Google Business Profiles

By Rachael Clark  |  February 27, 2023

If your company uses a Google Business Profile, you will have experienced many changes to this platform over the last couple of years. And this month Google retires the distinction between branded, direct and discovery searches. Read on to find out why this is important and what you need to do next. 

Changes to GBP

What’s a Google Business Profile?

Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business listings) are a key tool for organisations. They appear on the right-hand side of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), and on Google Maps with key business information and CTAs.

This rich set of information makes them an important piece of digital real estate, with the local map often appearing before any other organic listings. 

Listings can be created manually or you may find Google has started one for you; they can be populated with user generated content and are often carefully curated by your digital marketing team or agency. 

What’s changing?

Over the years GBP profiles have become increasingly more engaging with visual features such as photos, videos and product imagery within the listing. Most recently Google has changed how you access and edit key parts of your profile, moving key parts of this functionality within the SERP rather than through the back-end platform. 

In addition to this, Google has changed how it categorises the reporting available from your profiles, most notably how it handles user searches

What were the types of searches?

Up until now Google classified the way users found your business profile into three categories: branded searches, direct searches and discovery searches.  

  • Direct Searches: These were people who found your business profile searching for your business name or address, e.g. “Sharp Ahead Reading.”  
  • Discovery Searches: These were people who find your business profile searching for a category, product, or service that your business offers, e.g. “B2B digital marketing agency.” 
  • Branded Searches: These were people who found your listing searching for a brand related to your business e.g. “Sharp Ahead.” 

These numbers were a way to gauge not only when your profile was being served, but also the level of brand awareness amongst searchers – which was particularly useful when marketing a physical location such as a coffee shop or coworking space – with the all-important discovery searches indicating how many users found your listing who may not have been aware of your brand.  

What will this effect?

If you’ve automated any reporting on these metrics through Google’s API (such as Google’s Looker Studio) you’ll need to get these updated and replaced with new metrics. 

What should I analyse now?

The performance metrics on Google Business Profiles now fall into two categories – how people found your listing and what action they take from it:

  • Views: These are how many people saw your business profile, broken down by the platform and device that they’re on.  
  • Searches: These show the search terms that people used that returned your business profile in the results. This is a useful addition to the platform and can be used as a replacement for the categorised search metrics, allowing you to analyse whether your listing is found through branded or generic searches. 
  • Plus all the interaction metrics you’d expect – calls, messages, direction requests and website clicks.  

What do we think?

The categorised search types were a great way of analysing the performance of your business profile at a glance. However, the loss of these metrics is balanced by the addition of the search breakdown within GBP – giving digital marketers clarity on what exactly is triggering your GBP profile, which can inform your SEO strategy. Top tip: If you find you’re not ranking for generic search terms consider your description, categories, products and services and…  

If you need support with your Google Business Profile or B2B digital marketing strategy, get in touch with us today for a free 30 minute consultation 

Sharp Aheads B2B Marketing Training
Sharp Aheads B2B Marketing Training

Sharp Ahead’s B2B Marketing Training

By John Woods  |  February 17, 2023

B2B digital marketing is complex. It’s hard to learn – and stay current with –  the full range of skills that’s needed to be an effective B2B digital marketer. And a lot of the resources that are widely available approach digital channels from a B2C perspective, which is often not the best starting point for B2B best practices.

Sharp Ahead wants to help our clients and others to improve their B2B digital skills. So we’re developing a range of short-form training sessions and workshops around key B2B digital marketing skills. Some examples of recent workshops:

  • SEO Fundamentals for B2B Marketers

A 2 hour workshop to give B2B marketing generalists a grounding in the key aspects of SEO. We cover the fundamentals of SEO content strategy and copywriting, and an overview of technical SEO.

This 2 hour workshop is for both marketing and sales teams. We cover how the different individuals within a B2B commercial  team can best use LinkedIn for sales outreach and to enhance their company’s branding. 

Canva is a great design tool for generalist B2B marketers who need to create tactical marketing materials day to day. Our workshop shows how to work with templates in Canva to create high quality marketing material without the need for an expert designer.

We can deliver both private in-house training sessions for teams and public workshops for a more general audience. All of our courses are bespoke so timing and subject matter can be adjusted for your specific needs.

Interested in any of the above or keen to talk through other B2B digital training requirements? Reach out to us to start a conversation and see how we could work together – we’d love to hear from you! 

Should you be using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms Thumbnail

Lead Gen Forms: A B2B marketer's guide on when to use them

By Jennifer Esty  |  March 17, 2022

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms have been around for years now. They are great way to capture leads from within the LinkedIn platform. They negate the need for a landing page, and they de-risk user drop off when switching from LinkedIn to another tab.

But we get asked all the time, when should you use a Lead Gen Form vs Sponsored Content (or another ad format)?

To help with that decision, we’ve developed a handy decision tree. It’s deceptively simple and, although a little tongue-in-cheek, the principles are genuine.

Sharp Ahead LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms Decision Tree

Ready to start your campaign?

A couple of more things to keep in mind:

Lead Gen Forms are prepopulated with the users details (yay!)

But many LinkedIn users have their personal email addresses as their primary email address and don’t always have up to date information (boo!).

And if you don’t spend time on creating properly targeted audiences and useful content, there isn’t a decision tree in the world that will make those campaigns successful.

Need help from an expert? Get in touch for a free 30-minute consultation.

Sharp Ahead LinkedIn Ads

Are LinkedIn text ads the best kept secret in B2B brand advertising?

By Emma Grimshaw  |  May 20, 2020

The LinkedIn advertising platform has evolved quickly in recent years. What started out as a clunky interface with limited audience options and just a single advert format (the humble Text Ad), has matured into a more refined user experience with sophisticated targeting options that are a treasure-trove for B2B marketers. 

Their newer Sponsored Content ad format is – on paper – better than it’s predecessor in almost every way. Benefiting from a large image or graphic, a generous character limit, a clear call-to-action button, and prominent news feed placement, you can expect a well-performing ad to generate a click-through-rate of 0.35-0.45%, according to LinkedIn.

Side-by-side the original Text Ad format looks somewhat meagre, tucked away to the right of the screen with just 50×50 pixel thumbnail image, 25-character headline, and 75-character description. And with a CTR of 0.12% being considered by LinkedIn as a ‘good’, it might leave you wondering: why even bother with Text Ads at all?

1 – LinkedIn Text Ads are excellent value

On the face of it a Text Ad with 10,000 impressions and 1 click might not feel like value added. But if your campaign is set to bid for clicks rather than impressions, then this should be considered a success. Where else would you be able to get your brand in front of a well targeted audience of B2B decision-makers 10,000 times for less than the price of a cup of coffee?

2 – LinkedIn Text Ads are highly targeted

If you have already created a sleek Sponsored Content campaign, then you’re only a few clicks away from setting up some complementary Text Ads. Your audience has already been defined and refined, so why not utilise this and reinforce your sales-focused messages with brand-building creative? 

3 – LinkedIn Text ads are perfect for brand building

With specialist B2B products and services, there is a good chance that your audience isn’t big enough to run remarketing ads on LinkedIn. Text Ads are a great alternative, enabling you to keep your brand front-of-mind with the same prospects that have likely seen your Sponsored Content ads.

So whilst they might not boast impressive enough CTRs to hinge an entire lead generation campaign on, their power to generate brand awareness for pennies is the reason we think LinkedIn Text Ads are one of the best kept secrets in B2B brand advertising.

Groups of people dotted across a map representing demographics

Introducing LinkedIn Website Demographics

By John Woods  |  July 28, 2017

The meme “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” dates back almost 25 years.

The anonymous nature of most internet use is great for dogs, and for others who want to keep a low profile, but it’s frustrating for marketers who want to understand their audience. And it is particularly frustrating for B2B marketers, who often need to reach very specialist audiences.

Why B2B marketers need to profile website audiences

It’s impossible to judge the success of a niche B2B campaign by just counting anonymous page views. My blog post might reach ten thousand readers, but unless some of those readers are in my target demographic, it could still be a failure as a piece of B2B content marketing.

Conversely if my paid media campaign reaches just a hundred people, but half of those are prospective buyers of my high-end B2B service, then it could be a huge success.

So it is really valuable for B2B marketers to have a way of profiling website visitors, to learn about the characteristics of their audience.

Existing audience profiling tools are limited

There are already a few ways of building website audience profiles. For example Google Analytics provides geographic (country/city) and technographic (device type/browser version) information. And if you enable the Display Advertising features in Google Analytics you will also get information about Google’s affinity categories and in-market segments, some of which are relevant for B2B.

There are also many paid subscription tools that use reverse IP lookups to determine organisation names of anonymous visitors. They provide a few useful hints about your audience, but they are only a few pieces of a complex jigsaw.

New profiling capabilities from LinkedIn

LinkedIn has unique access to professional information about its 500 million users. Now it is promising to share some of that information to shine more light on the characteristics of website audiences that matter most for B2B marketers.

LinkedIn Website Demographics is a free tool that promises to profile your website audience based on information that LinkedIn knows about your visitors. The dimensions include:

• Job title

• Industry

• Job seniority

• Job function

• Company

• Company size

• Location

• Country

Some of these overlap with existing profiling tools – in particular, location and country are already quite well covered by Google Analytics.

But dimensions like “industry” and “seniority” will add valuable detail that is difficult or impossible to obtain from other sources.

Get ready to use LinkedIn Website Demographics

LinkedIn Website Demographics has not yet been released so we don’t have final details on how to use it.

But first impressions are that it will be driven by the existing LinkedIn Insight Tag and by the LinkedIn remarketing audiences which are controlled using that tag.

Like most remarketing-type technologies it will not be retrospective – it will take time for the audiences to build up – and it’s likely to be subject to a minimum audience size (for privacy reasons).

So if you want to be ready for LinkedIn Website Demographics, there is some “plumbing” you should put in place now so that your audiences have time to build up to a workable size:

1. Sign up for a LinkedIn Ads account, if you don’t already have one, and grab the customized LinkedIn Insight Tag code from the Tools/Conversion Tracking menu.

2. Make sure your LinkedIn Insight Tag code is deployed across your website and anywhere else that you want to track (such as campaign landing pages). Google Tag Manager will simplify this job.

3. Set up some audiences in the “Matched Audiences” part of LinkedIn Ads. At a minimum, you’ll want an audience for “all visitors”. You will probably want to create some more specialised audiences as well, for example to cover specific campaign landing pages or particular areas of your site that are intended for different marketing purposes.

And then…wait for LinkedIn to enable this exciting new feature!

More details when we have them…

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