The paid search offering has many people torn over whether paid clicks are as valuable as free traffic. As the Paid Search department head at WebiMax, I see every day that when used properly, as with all marketing mediums, it is a great tool and can have a drastic impact for a business. From a common perspective, one can easily say that “I just glance over the ads,” but if you saw a text or display ad published that had an offer that you just couldn’t refuse (sorry for being cliché) or an ad that reminded you of something that you were looking into last week and were just pulled away from researching the first time, tell me that you would not be engaged at all.
In the example above, I was simply referencing ads potentially positioned by keyword or remarketing targets, but that only scratches the surface of what you can do with paid search. This is an offering that has resulted in consistent spending growth. In fact, the latest Convario report shows an 18% growth from 2011 to 2012.
With 90% of the overall ad spend last year, Google remains the largest player in the paid search space, with Bing/Yahoo! coming in second. eMarketer also reported in Q3 2012 that the major search engines paid search revenue will account for nearly two-thirds of all digital ad spending, which is estimated just over $37 billion for 2012.
If you are not currently promoting your business through a paid search plan, you may be missing out on some valuable opportunities. With over 12 years of existence, paid search has come a long way, and there are options to fit all marketing budgets. If you would like to discuss some options from strategy, consulting or a full management plan, just let us know and we will be happy to help.
Already have a paid search marketing plan?
Keeping up with all of the enhancements and opportunities to grow your business and increase brand awareness from paid search may be difficult. This not only applies if you are the owner or president of a SMB, but also if you are working within a marketing department of a larger corporation. If this sounds very familiar to you, I can assure you that you are not alone.
Some critical areas that are sometimes overlooked, but may have a drastic positive impact on your paid search planning/accounts are:
• Ad Extensions
• Tablet Optimizations
• Mobile Optimizations
• PLAs and CSEs (for e-commerce sites)
• App ads
• Video ads
In addition to the focuses listed above, I cannot stress the importance of proper metric tracking from the start of any marketing initiative. With digital mediums, tracking can be pin-pointed more accurately than traditional media. If you do not have your tracking set up properly, you may be missing a piece of the puzzle when accessing and optimizing your plan. Whether you are currently working with an agency or handle your marketing in-house, I am sure that you have the basics in place regarding tracking, specific targeting, account structure, enticing ads and great user-experience landing pages. If this is not the case, or you would like to learn more about our team of paid search managers, don’t hesitate to contact me.
For many Internet marketers and advertisers, pay per click ads are a double-edged sword. While their prime placement within the SERPs is ideal, the cost of PPC campaigns can be problematic for some smaller businesses with lower advertising budgets. However, a balance can be found within most PPC campaigns that is optimal for virtually any company, regardless of budget constraints.
The Benefits of PPC
Pay per click advertising is undoubtedly the easiest way to reach the top of the SERPs, in a manner of speaking. While there is a definite distinction between organic rankings and paid advertisements in search results, PPC is still an effective platform. In fact, experts anticipate search advertising spending to increase by as much as 15% by the end of 2012. Additionally, paid search provides results more quickly than organic SEO efforts and often offers a consistent ROI. Despite all of these advantages and numerous PPC success stories, some feel that the inherent cost of PPC campaigns is a drawback that greatly diminishes their value.
A Perfect Balance
Although many small to medium-sized businesses may feel the cost of PPC advertising limits its viability on a long-term basis, some companies have seen success with short-term campaigns. It is important for businesses to prepare and adhere to an advertising budget and monitor PPC campaigns carefully to ensure that no extraneous spending occurs. By balancing PPC and organic SEO efforts, even smaller companies can see long-term, successful results in the SERPs.
When business owners hear the term “online marketing,” many people immediately think of the more overt advertising that they see when surfing the web. Banner ads, PPC links on search results and pop-up ads are certainly all very common tools used by internet marketers. Yet many companies have been relying on more SEO-oriented techniques to get their brand’s name recognized by internet users. This change of pace isn’t due to lackluster results from PPC, but rather a repurposed focus on trying to elevate organic search results over paid efforts.
The popular internet advertising mindset these days is to reduce the amount of direct marketing a company does in favor of building traffic and conversion rates more naturally. SEO companies have adopted traditional paid links as supplemental components to more robust organic campaigns, and for good reason. While PPC and banner ads can certainly bring in visitors to a website, they generally tend to give SEO firms more to worry about in the long run. Some of the more common reasons for marketing firms preferring organic links over inorganic ones are as follow:
The Daily Barrage of Ads, Ads, Ads
The biggest issue with most marketing is the way it’s perceived by potential customers. Sure, an advertisement here or there can get people to notice a company, but a flood of ads simply upset people. We’ve all been in situations where seeing the same banner or video ad ends up only making us annoyed at the piece of marketing in question or the company responsible for it. This ultimately achieves the exact opposite of what the marketing was intended to do – bring a person to a company’s site.
High Cost for Short Term Payoff
While pay per click advertisements are very effective at bringing in traffic, they can be costly. More popular keywords and ad networks can quickly become financial sinkholes if a marketing firm is not careful. Even if these ads are approached correctly, sometimes the amount of resources put into the project is too demanding overall. PPC ads are an excellent investment when done right, but the resulting traffic often drops off sharply once the campaign ends. It’s because of this that many SEOs are hesitant to rely too greatly on paid links for their clients.
Organic Marketing has a Higher Retention Rate
Despite all the issues that may arise with direct marketing, it’s really the strength of organic linkbuilding that matters most to a SEO firm. Organically-focused marketing campaigns succeed by strengthening a company’s online properties so they show up high up in the SERPs and bring in traffic without unnecessary financial investment. The conversion rates obtained through organic links are less resource-intensive and also benefit from previous work done to webpages and social media listings.
All these reasons add up to one inevitable conclusion: organic SEO efforts should always be the primary focus of any company’s online marketing efforts. Should readers have any questions about organic SEO vs. paid links, I can be reached at email@example.com.
In yesterday’s blog post, I spoke at length about the necessity of high quality image and video assets in a company’s marketing efforts. With visual media becoming an increasingly useful tool in every internet advertising campaign, the race is on to secure photos and digital camera footage that users will find engaging. Whereas in my previous blog entry I gave advice to small business owners on how to procure this media, today I will be giving guidelines on how and where to implement these excellent strategic marketing assets.
The key to any visual media-centric advertising campaign is knowing where to find one’s audience and how to make those assets appeal to potential traffic. While there is no shortage of options available when it comes to selecting a venue for media sharing, different types of sites do provide different better potential for media exposure than others. As always, I encourage readers to experiment with how they use their visual assets. Sometimes going off the beaten path can prove far more rewarding than sticking to tried-and-true SEO techniques or online marketing practices.
Social Networks: Sharing Visual Media with the Masses
For the highest level of exposure for your unique media, look no further than social websites such as Google+ and Facebook. Both these networks are excellent places for visual assets of all sorts. From professional photographs to video blogs, nearly anything can be shared via social media these days. The current page layout found on Facebook allows for trending images to remain high up in the follower Timeline feed for extended periods of time, while Google+ pages actually spotlight large photos for users to find easily.
The only issue with posting your media assets on social networks comes from the fickleness of public trends. Although a high quality photo can provide a solid click-through rate for attached links, most companies are subject to the whims of the web itself. When a trending topic starts to die off, relevant media takes a hit. It’s because of the fickle nature of public interest that social media sharing takes an attentive eye to use successfully. However, if a company is able to time its efforts correctly, the pay-off in traffic and conversion rates can be worth it.
Blogs: Building up a Following and Community over Time
More often than not, a significant amount of a business’ media assets are found on its company blog. Many businesses maintain a running blog as a way to gain loyal customers, continually add unique original content to a page (thus increasing its SEO value) and convey important news. Accompanying photos and video clips are usually included with blog updates as they add visual panache to a page and give readers something with which to associate the new text content.
While a blog does not offer immediate benefits for the small business owner, a well-run WordPress or Blogger page can act as a hub for both outbound and inbound links. By updating its blog regularly with new content and implementing interesting or eye-catching media elements, a company can draw in visitors to the site which may then interact with valued links.
Video Advertising: Getting Clips to Earn their Keep
Although much of the footage a company creates may be intended to show off its staff and locations, advertising and publicity-based videos are also a core component of most businesses. For those more overt marketing films that a company may shoot, it’s important that they’re used in a strategic and cutting edge manner. To this end, video ads often find their home on websites such as Hulu or Youtube.
In particular, Google’s recently rolled-out AdWords for Video service offers SMB owners a straightforward and efficient way to manage PPC advertisements on YouTube. My previous write-up on the new marketing program goes over the details in full and offers some excellent starting tips for it as well. Businesses looking to get the jump on their video ads should go ahead and create a YouTube channel with all their video media assets uploaded to it. This will make launching a pay per click campaign that much easier when the time comes for it.
By choosing the correct venue for one’s media assets, it’s possible to see results that can bring a small business the sort of traffic it would normally think impossible. If any readers have any further questions regarding my recommendations, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When new venues for internet advertising go live, every online marketing firm and PPC company takes note. Just a few days ago, Google announced the launch of its AdWords for Video program which it claims places more ad control into the hands of small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). Putting its money where its mouth is, the company is also giving potential SMB clients an incentive in the form of over $50 million in account funds to new AdWords registers. Those companies that sign up for AdWords for Video will be working with a free $75 in ad credits from which to drive their PPC campaigns.
Of course, the prospect of free money and a strong marketing venue is sure to entice any company. In addition to the Google-fueled fiscal motivation, there is also an ease of use that comes with the new AdWords for Video system. Companies that already have existing videos in their YouTube channel can simply select these clips to become the video ad for their PPC campaign. Targeting an appropriate audience is also made surprisingly straightforward through the setup process. Google has also created a very simple step-by-step video guide for AdWords for Video to help get SMB owners started.
Getting the Most out of the new Video Advertising Program
Besides familiarizing themselves with the ins and outs of the system, SMB owners will also want to brush up on their pay per click knowledge and practices before committing any considerable effort to AdWords for Video. At its core, the new video marketing program operates similarly to existing PPC programs from networks such as Microsoft adCenter and Google AdWords proper. As such, there are a number of steps one should take prior to getting started:
- Always take the time to seek out trending or popular keywords that may be relevant to your business. Knowing what terms your potential audience is looking for will help you improve your PPC’s click-through rate dramatically.
- Determine what sort of budget you will be working with well before you set up your ad campaign. YouTube’s TrueView Pricing system ensures that you will only be paying cost per click when site users actually sit through the bulk of your video advertisement. This helps keep the cost of video PPC campaigning manageable.
- Direct your efforts on the right networks. While Google for AdWords Video allows you to select the full range of websites and Google properties for your campaign, focusing your ads on fewer networks will keep costs down and ads consolidated. This means that you’ll show up more often to users on a particular network than if you simply selected all possible markets for maximum exposure.
While the new YouTube advertising system is still in its infancy, there’s plenty of potential already available for would-be PPC campaigners. Should any small business owners have any additional questions or would like some advice on their PPC efforts, I can be reached at email@example.com.
As I discussed in a previous blog post, many businesses find themselves focusing the majority of their social media efforts through Facebook these days. While I still feel that Google+ is a fantastic alternative to this oversaturated social network, there are still several features on Facebook that make it an attractive platform for marketing purposes. In particular, it’s the network’s capability for pay per click advertisements that is a huge draw for many business owners. Aside from the site-wide ad initiatives that came about via the Timeline layout update, companies listed on the world’s biggest social network will also soon to be able to take advantage of another potential marketing avenue.
Although it is only in beta at this time, Facebook Offers promises to be a new initiative through which companies can increase their physical locations’ foot traffic. The new ad program will essentially reward followers of a business’ social media listing by adding them to a mailing list. Messages sent to users who sign up for the program will include coupons, discounts and other promotions to be used in-store. Operating in a similar fashion to Foursquare’s business incentives, Facebook Offers is a form of marketing that encourages customers to come to your business (and visit your online listing) on a regular basis.
Taking Advantage of Facebook Ads
As of now, only a handful of companies are actually enrolled in the Facebook Offers program. Due to its beta state, the new marketing incentive will be unavailable for most company owners until it goes public. While Offers is certainly a Facebook feature that everyone should keep their eye on, that doesn’t mean it should be the sole focus of every company. As we’ve all seen, the Timeline layout has made advertisements more prevalent than ever before. As such, regular Facebook advertisement allows for a marketing approach that everyone will want to use at least once in a while.
Running a successful ad campaign on Facebook often relies on the implementation of tried-and-true PPC behaviors. At the same time, some tweaks should always be made when advertising on a social network. Business owners looking for a solid ROI for their social media marketing investments should consider the following:
- As is the case with any PPC campaign, you’ll want to determine who the intended audience for your ad will be. If your business has a substantial following on Facebook, try taking a look at what the leading trends are for the people who “like” your company. Should you find that there is something relevant to your business that you can focus on, consider making that your keyword.
- The new Timeline layout allows for a multitude of options when it comes to deciding where you want to place your ads. A few weeks ago, Microsoft chose to place a massive banner for Bing on the Facebook logout page. While some SEO experts questioned whether such a huge ad on such a relatively unseen page was a good idea, the fact is that the company was able to choose freely where its marketing would be featured. When choosing a spot for a Facebook ad, one should thoroughly consider where they should place their ad for maximum exposure.
- Do not simply post your ad and expect to immediately see improved traffic for your website. Use your company’s Facebook page to openly promote your ongoing PPC campaign. If you interact with your followers directly, you will find that the little bit of extra exposure you gain will help you get the conversion rates you want.
Of course, the best Facebook ad campaigns come from learning the correct marketing behaviors. For readers looking for more information on PPC advertising, we invite you to look into our company’s PPC management service and other SEM opportunities. I can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org should readers have any particular questions.