Posts Tagged ‘PPC advertising’
On Tuesday, March 5th IMI invited some of our local clients in house for an exciting thought-leadership event sponsored by Google called Google Engage. Our clients watched a compelling 2 hour live broadcast from Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. As a partner agency to Google, we were delighted to be included in the first ever Google Engage for Agencies event. Speakers such as Lisa Gevelber, Google’s VP for Americas Marketing, discussed how businesses can grow in this digital age and reach more customers online. Below are the key takeaways from this event.
During the session, we were introduced to ZMOT – the Zero Moment of Truth: that instant when customers open their laptops, pick up their smartphones or their tablets, and search the web. They may read a review, look for a coupon, watch a video, or read a blog before making a purchase. With the right digital marketing strategy, you can reach shoppers more often at the right time, in the right place, and with the right content.
At the Zero Moment of Truth, today’s shoppers bounce back and forth at their own unique way in a multi-channel marketplace. They switch devices to suit their needs at any given moment.
The challenge for businesses today is to meet customers where they are online with exactly what they are looking for. For example, regarding YouTube videos, it is a much younger audience curating the content and determining what is cool. So if your target audience is on YouTube, running True View video ads would be a good way to reach them.
You also want to make sure your brand messaging is consistent across TV, tablets and mobile phones and create a good experience on all devices. So, what can you do to appeal to this growing tablet audience at ZMOT? Find ways to give shoppers the information they want at the time they want it online. Do they want reviews and ratings? If so, a simple way to reach them is to write ad copy that boasts, “Five stars on Yelp.” You want to give the users what they are looking for by answering their questions in your content and ad copy. You can also build relationships with your customers through videos, Google Plus hangouts, and social media.
Reaching Your Customers through Mobile and Tablets
Website traffic from tablets and mobile devices increases every day. Therefore, you want to be sure to create tablet-friendly ads and use them in tablet-targeted campaigns. As the Google Mobile Playbook notes, a paid ad that states: “Shop now from your tablet” is a stronger call to action than “Shop online.”
While images on iPhone listings are very small, they also play a big role in leading to conversions. Through eye tracking, Google researchers could tell that users would pause on a listing with positive reviews, then look at the image before making their decision to click or not.
MAT™ – Multi-Attribution Technology
With customers finding your website through so many different channels, it is essential to segment out where they are coming from and trace the click path they used to see what made them buy a product.
If you’re just relying on the last click, you’re missing out on a whole lot of information about user behavior. Our MAT™ , or multi attribution analytics tool tracks all the marketing sources that customers are exposed to before making a purchase, thus measuring the success of each digital campaign.
Couples Resorts is a client of ours who has a successful fully integrated digital marketing campaign with Display, SEO, SEM, and Social Media campaigns. Through using our MAT™ technology, we found that display media is a great introducer to the website. MAT™ helps us understand the performance of each digital marketing campaign by reporting on the introducers, the influencers, and the closers.
How Our Google Partnership Can Help You
So what can IMI as an agency help you with? We work with our Google Reps to help our clients reach their goals. Google provides us with a vast amount of data, tools, and education. Our Google reps help IMI by providing us with their own market research and data of online habits across many industries. We use this information to create a strategy that leads to optimal results for our clients. For example, Google researchers found that users really pay attention to social signals like reviews. They found that listings that averaged three or more stars in reviews took 41 out of 47 clicks. Also, the volume of reviews matters. 29 of 47 clicks went to listings that had at least four reviews.
As Google releases new tools and research, we are the some of the first to know. We help our clients implement these new trends and tools and link their campaigns together across multiple channels.
We also help businesses to engage with their users. At IMI we have a comprehensive data-driven approach to internet marketing. With our tools, partnerships, and expertise we extract data from all of our clients’ digital channels to help understand user behavior, create content that meets their needs, and ultimately increase ROI and bottom line.
At our Google Engage event, our audience walked away with valuable knowledge and enthusiasm. We look forward for the next Google Engage event and hope to see you there.
Bing announced another launch and redesign of their search engine today. After making their search results cleaner and more accessible last week, Bing is turning its focus to a social search experience. So what is Bing offering besides new PPC advertising and display marketing tactics? Over the next few weeks before Bing officially goes live with the changes, a new three column design called Core Search, Snapshot and Sidebar panes. Today, we will be focusing on the new Social Sidebar.
Perhaps Bing’s most exciting and worthwhile change is their new social sidebar. Whenever you do a search (depending on how relevant Bing decides the search is) you will trigger a list of elements that correlate to your social network. The four elements that go into the search inquire are these listed: Ask Friends, Friends Who Might Know, People Who Know, Activity Feed. So what the heck do these even mean? Let’s dive down a little bit further.
Friends Who Might Know: When signed into your Facebook account, Bing will capture all of your friends’ interests and will suggest a variety of friends that might know about the subject you are looking for. For example, if I did a search for Pictures of San Diego, Bing could possibly go through your friends pictures and find tags that relate to San Diego.
Ask Friends: After performing your search, a box that’s connected to your Facebook account will ask if you want to ask your friends the same question. This is similar to “status updates”, but is now shown as a “question asked”
People Who Know: So far Facebook has been the only talked about network, so what if you wanted to use Bing’s rival Google +? Easy, since Google + consists of public pages then the profiles are free to crawl. When conducting a People Who Know search, Bing goes through not only your friend’s profiles but through every profile until it finds a list of People Who Know.
Activity: Activity is interesting because this is a continuous running feed of questions that you asked or have been asked by those you know. This is similar to status feeds or tweets from people you are following on twitter.
In all these are some pretty cool changes that will officially be seen within the next few days to weeks. Let us know what you think about the changes.
Google announced it would begin penalizing websites heavy-laden with advertising, updating their algorithms to exclude sites with buried content. As stated in the blog post announcing the changes, Engineer Matt Cutts explains that users simply want to see the page content without having to scroll down and search. The changes target sites with too many ads stacked on top of the page, or “above the fold.” Following a flood of complaints from users, Google is rolling out the new “page layout algorithm” to downgrade search rankings of sites with a higher ratio of advertising than content, and to reward and encourage sites with good practices.
Some immediate concerns from webmasters address the question of just how much is too much, but especially in relation to screen size. According to Cutts, “ads above-the-fold to a normal degree” are safe, but publishers are still apprehensive about the open-ended definition of “normal.” Using the Google Browser Size Tool can obliterate obscure content, and webmasters can utilize screen resolution emulators to see how site views differ from desktop to laptop to tablet.
Google confirms that only one in 100 searches, or one percent, will be affected by the changes. By promoting good site practices, and avoiding excessive banners and advertising, responsible websites can find a protective haven in the new algorithm in that their site could be better placed with the new search rankings. Cutts emphasizes, “Overall, our advice for publishers continues to be to focus on delivering the best possible user experience on your websites and not to focus on specific algorithm tweaks.” Another important reminder to always keep the user in mind for all search engine optimization and internet marketing practices.
The simplification of the Google AdWord Keyword Tool, as expressed in the article, “R.I.P. Google Keyword Tool. Long Live SEO!“ creates a burning question to marketers who rely on this toolbar: How does this change our process? Many have been questioning Google’s agenda behind this vast transition and it seems that monetary influence seems to be the driving factor behind it.
With other search engines like Bing and Yahoo gaining popularity, perhaps it would make sense for Google to restrict its vast inventory of information. “Commercializing” the keywords available to users may simplify the average users experience, but it greatly changes the way marketers go about retrieving SEO information. With less AdWords data available, advertisers are forced to buy more Adwords and this hurry to buy will undoubtedly cause the cost to increase even more.
According to the Google blog (http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/new-approach-to-how-we-work-with.html), the purpose of the newly implemented AdWords Keyword Tool is to help advertisers become more proficient and strategy-focused. Google’s new AdWord Certification Program requires advertisers to display their knowledge and capabilities through more challenging certification exams. These exams will match agencies with Google Certified Partners based on their needed criteria. Finally, Certified Partners have access to the new preferred AdWords API Pricing, which agencies must apply for and be accepted to view the Adwords API. Google emphasizes that advertisers should not be concerned with increased cost, but rather to experiment with new strategies and expand on the resources they already have.
It looks like marketers may just have to utilize other databases as well as Google Adwords Keyword Tool such as WordStream, Trellian and WordTracker to obtain the information and research they need, since the tool now limits results. Google could be controlling what we, the user, have access to because that way, they will make more profit. A large concern for a lot of users is the strategy that Google seems to be implementing, which gains control of its users and their capabilities as researchers. Whatever the motivation for this drastic change, it definitely changes the way online marketing will function in the future.
Long the subject of speculation and prediction, the world’s most active micro blog, Twitter, announced major changes to their social network in an attempt to position their network as a profitable enterprise. Twitter Feeds will no longer be free of the influence of the almighty dollar as Twitter unveiled its new Promoted Tweets function, which is basically Adwords for Twitter, and TweetUp, the latest development out of Idealab which is a search engine and bidding marketplace that works in collusion with Twitter.
Twitter offers advertising partners top post
On the Twitter blog, the company enumerated specific expectations of the advent of Promoted Tweets. Advertising partners can bid for keywords to ensure their tweets reach the top of the pile once a certain keyword is searched for, much akin to the Google Adwords model. Twitter lined up commercial partners to start using Promoted Tweets that include Starbucks, Virgin America, Best Buy, Red Bull and Bravo, and offers as example that Starbucks Tweets will always turn up first for a Twitter search for the term “coffee,” provided Starbucks continues to bid on the term.
Twitter emphasizes that they are only in the first phase of their Promoted Tweets program and insists that the promotional aspect of the tweet placement does not mean a decay of quality. Promoted Tweets, according to Twitter, must meet a higher standard than your average tweet, resonating with users and garnering retweets to maintain its placement as a top tweet.
TweetUp seeks to establish bidding marketplace
TweetUp is a bit more complicated than Twitter’s Promoted Tweets as it utilizes an algorithm taking into account a tweet’s author, number of followers, influence score, number of retweets, along with the user’s bid for their tweet. Keywords will cost 1 cent per impression; however, if a tweet does not meet the aforementioned qualifications, there is no bid high enough to launch it to the top of the feed (like an Adwords quality score).
All in all, major changes lie ahead for the social network taking its first steps toward monetization; however, Twitter promises the integrity of its network will be maintained, if not emboldened, as the white noise of real time updates won’t hide relevant tweets in the shuffle.
In case you didn’t know, we’re in tough economic times. These economic conditions have drastically cut budgets across the nation and world, leaving meager allowances for marketing and advertising in its wake.
Nonetheless, expectations for 2010 remain optimistic. In a new study released yesterday, StrongMail reveals nine out of ten business executives plan to maintain or increase their marketing budgets. Execs aren’t thinking conventionally for the new decade either, instead the survey’s respondents indicated they were open to marketing strategies that utilize the Internet and maximize their dollar. Next year, 69 and 59 percent of business executives anticipate increasing their email and social media marketing, respectively. Another 42 percent claimed they expect to spend more on search engine initiatives, such as SEO and PPC. The survey’s results indicate a migration to internet marketing tactics, as advertising and direct mailing initiatives are expected by less than 30 percent of execs.
Furthermore, the study showed a desire among business executives to combine the tested and proven tactics of emailing potential customers with social media. Execs did not, however, demonstrate uniform confidence about how they would go about implementing such strategies in the upcoming year. Instead, one out of five executives claimed they had no idea where to begin. With more businesses seeking to establish an online presence in hopes of finding cheaper alternatives to conventional advertising, it is certain that social media marketing and search engine initiatives will play integral roles in the year 2010.
Many companies using Internet marketing strategies out there drive most of the traffic to their home page or possibly another internal page of their website. The optimization of any online marketing campaign should focus on both the traffic drivers as well as where the traffic is sent. This is especially true when using search engine marketing strategies like Pay Per Click advertising in any search engine.
It is now crucial to use a landing page for PPC advertising in Google because it wll have a direct impact on your Google Quality Score and conversion success. The idea of consversion optimization is pretty simple but the purpose should be understood in order to execute it correctly for your webpages. The main idea of course is to always be improving your ROI. There is no point in spending tons of money in online or offline marketing if you are just planning to drive traffic to your home page (unless of course your home pages acts as a well optimized “landing page”).
Here is an example. JetSelect Aviation (a premier private jet charter service) has performed various form of marketing (online and offline), including Yahoo PPC. All the traffic was being channeled to their home page and results had been fairly dismal. They were recieving about one or two leads a month. Here is an example of the home page:
Once the marketing campaign started, aggressive Googe PPC was added and four landing pages created. The ad copy for the ads was written according to their direct business goals. It is important to understand Google Quality Score guidelines in order to properly optimize your PPC campaign for the best possible results. Here is an example of one of the landing pages created. Notice the update in design, graphics, clear calls to action, simple booking engine right at the top of the page, and simple information (there is more content below the fold).
Landing pages can really be as simple or content heavy as you want (in my opinion). What matters really is what is above the fold and how the call to action is designed. Of course, this all depends on your conversion goals and what you plan to obtain from your landing pages. Those goals should be defined first before designing the page or launching any marketing.
The initial result of the properly optimized PPC campaigns and well designed landing pages was going from one or two poor quality leads per month to five to eight high quality leads per day. The results will of course vary depending on your business, industry, and specific goals.
Either way, you must use landing pages with great content ands clear calls to action in order to get the most bang for your buck from your Internet marketing strategies.
All the studies out there point to the fact that an integrated online marketing strategy is more powerful than just using one Internet marketing channel alone. Most strategies compliment one another very well. Today, I want to talk a bit about the use of search engine optimization and pay per click advertising together as a combined strategy.
About SEO: Organic search engine optimization is the process performed on (and off) a website to improve the quality and volumes of traffic from the natural search results. A good SEO campaign starts with a targeted keyword strategy. Then best practices must be applied to site architecture, content, and link building. SEO is one of the most important investments in the long term online visibility for any brand. However, unless you already have good momentum with natural placements, it can take time to see results.
About PPC: Pay Per Click advertising is a strategy that involves buying keywords through programs like Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, etc. Again, it starts with defining the keyword strategy and setting budgets. You can of course dig deeper by geo-targeting terms as well as using daily and hourly targeting so that over time you can maxmize your budget and have your ads showing only during times where you are experiencing the best conversions. Google now uses a Quality Score index to rank campaigns. This is important because your budget matters less and the quality of your campaign and landing pages matters more.
Here are some interesting stats on spending:
- PPC search advertising continues to be the largest category, growing from $9.1 billion in 2007 to $20.9 billion in 2013. (Source: C|Net News, June 30, 2008)
- Companies in the US spent $10 billion last year on paid search ads, and even more this year. How about SEO?
- SEO: $1.3 billion (11%) (Source: SEMPO data via Massimo Burgio, SMX Madrid 2008)
- According to SEMPO’s data, it’s 11% for SEO and 87% for PPC (with another 1.4% for SEM technologies and 1% for paid Inclusion).
It seems that people still do not quite grasp the power of natural search rankings. Let’s take a look at this heat map study to show where most users look when doing searches online.
Companies that use only paid search marketing do so usually because they either do not have good orgainc rankings or are deploying a very targeting ad campaign. Companies that use only SEO usually do so because they have great natural traffic and don’t have much need for more targeted advertising (or think they don’t).
As we all know, starting from scrath, SEO takes months to generate good lasting results. The time it takes to show results is largely based on a few factors: the competitiveness of the industry online, the age and history of the domain, the number of inbound links the site may already have, content, and the overall quality of the SEO campaign. In the meantime, many companies use PPC to drive traffic and generate revenue. PPC advertising managed correctly can show some big wins. But you don’t want to have to rely on PPC alone forever. This is not a scalable strategy nor will it always yield the best conversions as compared to great natural traffic.
When using PPC as a means to drive traffic while working on building natural rankings, the keyword movements and traffic volumes coming through the SEO efforts should be monitored closely. As specific keywords start to drive more traffic (most likely from moving to the first page results), you can gradually start to decrease the PPC budgets. You don’t want to be too quick to turn certains terms off though and you will want to montior both efforts closely.
Many case studies are now showing that conversions rates increase when companies deploy BOTH methods, even for overlapping keyword strategies. Companies using both methods, are seeing the conversions coming through SEO, but at a much higher rate than using either PPC or SEO alone. So as keywords start generating more natural traffic, you may want to consider decreasing some budgets while still maintaining keyword visibility in both natural and paid results.
A deeper analysis will come when you start really looking at your CPA (cost per acquisiton) and conversion goals through your paid search efforts. Since PPC is advertising, you can lose money if it is not managed well. SEO is really more of a true business development investment. Once you start SEO you really can’t stop – and when you start showing higher traffic volumes coming through natural search, you won’t want to! The visitors coming through natural search results usually stay on the site longer, view more pages, and convert better.
The conclusion: Every brand will need a different strategy but if you have the means, deploying both SEO and paid search can generate great results. If you decide to manage both efforts in-house be sure to seek professional advice on how each work separately and as a combined strategy.