• by Naomi Stark, Search Coordinator and Daniel Male, Head of Search

    Executive Summary

    In recent months, Google has been testing new layout designs to their search results page, claiming to improve user experience.

    Their newest rollout, first spotted March 5, 2014 , appears to be less about improving user experience and more about increasing revenue from paid listings, as the design changes make it harder for a user to distinguish between paid search ads and natural search results.

    As discussed further in the body of this paper, MRM//McCann expects the following to occur as a result of Google’s search changes:

    1. Increase in click-through-rates for paid listings, increasing paid search costs
    2. Decrease in click-through-rates on organic results

    These changes will motivate companies to increase their focus on natural search optimization to counter the increased visibility of paid search results and reduce unnecessary spend on PPC campaigns.

    Changes to SERP Template

    Google’s paid search layout now including orange “Ad” labels instead of a highlighted box.

    I. The beige box surrounding the sponsored/paid ads has been replaced with just an orange “ad” symbol – - under the header and before the destination URL.

    The new “Ad” button is less intrusive and will likely result in increased traffic from users that would have otherwise skipped over paid links.

     

     

    Google paid ads have black descriptions while organic search results have gray meta descriptions.

    II. For ad positions 1-3, the descriptive text is black. For all other ads, as well as all organic results, the text is in a less-readable, gray color.

    III. The underline beneath all page titles has been stricken from links on both paid and organic results.

    IV. The size of page title characters has increased, causing some page titles to not display fully.

     

    Google search results update truncating title tags due to a larger font size post SERP update.

    Aesthetic arguments aside, the new layout (right) without underlined titles does not visually distinguish the results in the same way as the old layout (left.)

    Less noticeable, yet possibly more impactful on search behavior, is the increase in the font size for page titles; larger titles means fewer characters can be displayed. In the image above, titles in the second and third search result no longer fit, and are therefore completed by ellipses.

    How does this affect me?

    The search team at MRM//McCann expects the following as a result:

    1. Increase in CTR on paid listings, thereby increasing paid search expenses
    2. Decrease in CTR on organic results
    3. Renewed focus on natural search optimization to reduce unnecessary spend on PPC campaigns

    Difference in organic and paid listings for the search “womens dress shoes”

    Google’s layout update has essentially made the labels the only meaningful difference between paid and nonpaid ads. The bright orange label and black description text draw the eye to the paid listings, which will likely increase clicks on these links.

    Additionally, organic results have been visually diminished through grey text and truncated titles. In this context, Google’s changes have the sum total effect of featuring paid ads over unpaid results.

    Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that users not paying close attention will unintentionally land on an advertised page.

    How MRM//McCann Can Help

    With all search engine algorithm changes, the ability to hustle and adapt is critical. Looking at the big picture, these updates are neither good nor bad, but they will cause a change in user behavior.

    To maximize qualified paid search visitors and minimize “lost” users who expect to be clicking on an organic result, MRM//McCann optimizes paid search listings by adding link extensions, ratings, and reviews, editing ad text, setting up vanity URLs, and more.

    To increase visitors from organic listings, we add rich snippets to your search results via schema micro-formatting. Schema gives websites the ability to enhance their search results with image and video thumbnails, star ratings, numerical review scores, job listings, biographical and location information, and more.

    An example website using schema to help search result visibility.

    To minimize unnecessary spend on PPC campaigns when your organic listing is ranking in a top position, MRM//McCann can run a PPC/SEO triangle analysis to improve search engine synergy.

    To ensure that page titles are fully displayed, we can rewrite your title tags so that they show up in their entirety while retaining important keywords.

    To measure the effect of Google’s updates on search engine performance, MRM//McCann can report on visitor fluctuations by search engine channel.

    Conclusion

    Google is constantly evolving, forcing all players in the digital space to constantly retool their SEM and SEO strategies to best serve their business goals.

    As always, whenever there is a change to Google’s algorithm or search template, MRM//McCann will be there to pivot with you every step of the way.

    Any questions? Feel free to contact Daniel Male, Head of MRM//McCann Search New York.

  • In February, European food retail giant, Lidl, reached the milestone of 10 million fans on Facebook as confirmed in the recently published study, “Lidl Now #1 European Food Retailer on Facebook” by social media monitoring agency, Socialbakers.

    “This success is due to Lidl’s consistent approach and the high level of professionalism with which it has claimed the social media theme for itself, ” MRM//McCann Germany Managing Director, Andreas Brüeckner said. “Instead of using this channel simply to communicate advertising campaigns, Lidl uses Facebook to communicate with its customers openly and transparently through dialogue.”

    According to the PRNewswire press release, Lidl today has 26 Facebook pages and a fan community of 10.2 million followers. In the countries where it operates on Facebook, the average penetration rate is around 5.9%. This means that after approximately 2.5 years of being internationally present on Facebook, Lidl is the number one food retailer in Europe and number two worldwide.

    “Lidl takes what its followers think very seriously. In my opinion, that, as well as innovative content, is one of the main reasons why the engagement has been so successful,” Brüeckner remarks.

    For more details, read the full article on PRNewswire.co.uk.

  • McCann Wins Qatar Financial Centre Brief

    McCann London and its sister agency, MRM Meteorite, have been appointed as joint agencies-of-record for the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).

    By James Swift
    (Campaign – April 17, 2014)

    McCann London and MRM Meteorite, a digital and direct agency that is also part of McCann World Group, were appointed to the creative account by the QFC Authority after a competitive pitch. It is the first time that the agencies have been jointly appointed to an account.

    The pair is tasked with creating a campaign that will encourage businesses to set up shop in Qatar. The first of the work is expected to break in June and is set to include advertising, events, B2B communications and a new website.

    Zaid Al-Zaidy, McCann London’s chief executive officer and Hugh Bishop, MRM Meteorite’s chairman, issued a joint statement that read: “It is wonderful for our agencies to be able to work together to produce a totally integrated solution to promote the QFC’s strategy and business environment.”

    “We look forward to working together as the QFC goes from strength to strength.”

    Read the full article on Campaign.

  • MRM’s Mclaren Promoted to CEO, Succeeds Bill Kolb

    By Noreen O’Leary
    (ADWEEK – April 9, 2014)

    Michael McLaren has proven he can handle MRM//McCann’s top job: A year after he was named president of the global digital marketing and relationship management agency, he’s been promoted to chief executive.

    Read the full article on ADWEEK.

  • (Ads of the World—March 31, 2014) As part of the “Crazy for Good” initiative, a global initiative dedicated to people doing good for random strangers, Coca-Cola Romania created “Radar For Good”, the first mobile platform for close range volunteering, to support the people who want to do good for society right now.

    How does it work?
    Through a simple download from Google Play or iTunes, people can give a helping hand to those who need it, instantly, and in their near vicinity.

    See the full article on AdsoftheWorld.com.

    “We believe there is good in everyone, and we just need to give a little push in order to spark more good people to act and volunteer,” said Nir Refuah, Chief Innovation Officer, MRM//McCann Romania.  “That’s why we chose to turn mobile and use features included in every smartphone—in order to make volunteer work and doing good for society as easy and intuitive as possible.”

  • Pacheco selected as one of many world-class industry experts to serve on the Direct jury of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

    Every year, more than 300 members of the creative industry are invited to Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to judge and award all work entered into the festival. The judges are representative of several countries across the globe and a diversity of agencies—from independents to networks. “The prestige associated with winning a Lion is largely a result of the calibre of the professionals judging the work,” said Philip Thomas, CEO of Lions Festivals. “It is therefore fitting to have such a formidable group of industry experts, who will no doubt help inspire and advance the global communications industry with the outcome of their deliberations. We very much look forward to welcoming them all to Cannes in June.”

    The deadline for entries is March 28, 2014. Winners will be announced at four awards ceremonies held during the festival. Cannes Lions takes place June 15 -21, 2014 at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France.

    For more details on other juries, read the full article on CampaignBrief.com.

    For more information on rules across all 17 categories, read more on www.canneslions.com.

  • MRM//McCann Joins Elastic Path Partner Network

    Award-winning Global Marketing Agency to Help Deliver Experience-driven Commerce As Elastic Path Strengthens Its Partnership Strategy

    March 4, 2014 — Vancouver, B.C. — Elastic Path Software Inc., the digital commerce company, today announced that it has entered into a partnership with MRM//McCann, a leading global customer experience marketing agency, to deliver exceptional experience-driven commerce solutions.

    “MRM//McCann is a world-leading creative agency that really understands the value of digital experiences, so they’re the perfect partner for Elastic Path,” said Mark Williams, Co-founder and Executive Vice President, Elastic Path. “We’re very pleased to have the innovative thinkers and creatives at MRM//McCann join the Elastic Path partner network.”

    MRM//McCann, part of McCann Worldgroup, has more than 30 offices across North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. The agency recently won 3 Intel Innovation Awards at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), being recognized in three of six categories, more than any agency has ever received in a single year.

    “Today’s digitally-empowered consumers have extremely high expectations of modern marketers,” said Hank Summy, President, MRM//McCann. “Our digital craftspeople help engage with customers in powerful, contextual ways. By adding Elastic Path’s ecommerce platform to our creative digital experiences and digital storytelling, we forge strong connections between brands and consumers that generate value for our clients.”

    MRM//McCann has created digital experience projects for the world’s best brands, and their client list includes Dell, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, JP Morgan Chase, L’Oreal, MasterCard, Microsoft XBox, Nestle, Nikon, Verizon, and others.

    The announcement is part of Elastic Path’s renewed focus on building out its partnership strategy. In January 2014, Elastic Path added 3 new executives to its internal partnership building team with the goal of further expanding solution integrator and technology partners in North America, EMEA, and APAC.

    For more information about Elastic Path’s partnership network, visit www.elasticpath.com/partners/solution-partners.

     

    About MRM//McCann
    MRM//McCann is a global customer experience-marketing agency, part of the Interpublic Group (IPG). We simplify the complex—helping our clients navigate, transform and gain competitive advantage within today’s multidimensional, digitally driven world. We achieve this through creative ideas born at the intersection of technology solutions, measurable performance and our unique understanding of people. This philosophy guides our approach to creating innovative experiences that matter to both people and brands. The agency has 30+ offices across North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. For more information, please visit http://www.mrmworldwide.com.

    About Elastic Path
    Elastic Path empowers people to create value from innovative digital experiences. Our software seamlessly adds omnichannel ecommerce, subscriptions, and legacy systems connectivity to digital engagement platforms from Adobe®, OpenText®, and others, enabling companies to deliver outstanding customer experiences that maximize engagement and conversion. Every year, we generate billions of dollars in digital revenue for the world’s best brands – including Google, Pearson, Symantec, Time Inc., Virgin Media, and Western Union, use Elastic Path to drive billions of dollars in digital commerce annually.

  • (ClickZ – February 6, 2014) Digital marketing has evolved rapidly. While the headlines are consumed with social media, mobile advertising, and video content, to name but a few, there is a greater force lurking that is set to change the landscape as we know it. This force is the “Internet of Things” and it is conducive to the world we are now living in. Did you know that there are already twice as many “things” connected on the Internet than people? And by 2020, this is set to rise to 50 billion connected devices, according to Cisco.

    Andy Jacobs answers the question: How will the Internet of Things impact digital marketers over the forthcoming year and where will we see the biggest changes?

    More and more in the future (and perhaps not too far off), marketers will need to become even more channel/device agnostic when constructing their communication strategies. I think there will be a more prevalent use of wearable devices and connected appliances. These devices will further disrupt the current landscape of “connected devices” extending this beyond the desktop/phablet usage we are seeing today. The challenge will be how to intelligently incorporate these new devices into marketing strategies, leveraging their unique characteristics, and at the same time taking into account the unique user experience.

    Read the full article on www.clickz.com.

     

  • MRM Takes Home Three Intel Marketing Innovation Awards

    Record-Breaking Wins

    January 21, 2014 — New York, New York — Each year during CES, Intel Corporation announces the winners of its coveted Marketing Innovation Awards.  This year, MRM won an unprecedented number of Marketing Innovation Awards; the global agency was recognized in three of the six categories, more than any agency has ever received in a single year. These awards, called Sparky’s, are given to agencies in recognition of creativity, leadership and fresh thinking. The awards are given in six categories with a seventh award for the Grand Prix.

     

    MRM San Francisco took home the award in the Enterprise Category for development of the Embedded Design Center; a site targeted to Intel’s embedded developer audience. MRM Beijing won in the Earned Media Category for an online program that helps IT decision makers bring the value of Ultrabooks® to their enterprise businesses. And MRM Salt Lake City received a Sparky in the Environment and Social Governance category, which rewards agencies for work that involves corporate environmental and social responsibility. The agency won for a pro-bono, anti-litter campaign created in conjunction with sixth-grade students at Millcreek Elementary school.

    Mariann Coleman, Director, Global Agency Relations and Performance at Intel said, “At Intel, we pride ourselves on being an Innovation engine – and we seek to work with partners who have the same passion for innovation as we do. These awards recognize the “best of the best” of the work from our valuable partner agencies around the world.”

    MRM President Michael Mclaren and other agency executives were on hand to accept the awards. Mclaren noted that these awards are particularly valuable to MRM.  “Of the many awards our company receives, the Intel Marketing Innovation Awards are some of our most coveted because innovation is so critical to Intel themselves – and they put such a high value on the need to deliver breakthrough, innovative thinking. This award is given by Intel because it really matters to them. This is outstanding recognition for MRM from the world’s leader in technological innovation,” said Mclaren.

     

    About MRM
    MRM is a global customer experience-marketing agency, part of McCann Worldgroup, an Interpublic company. We simplify the complex—helping our clients navigate, transform and gain competitive advantage within today’s multidimensional, digitally driven world. We achieve this through creative ideas born at the intersection of technology solutions, measurable performance and our unique understanding of people. This philosophy guides our approach to creating innovative experiences that matter to both people and brands. The agency has 30+ offices across North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. For more information, please visit www.mrmworldwide.com.