Articles written in April, 2007

April 30 2007

Does Branding Have to Hurt Your Pocketbook?


The information superhighway can feel more like information overload — a saturated market with site after site popping up vying for attention like a pack of preschoolers. So how can you stand out — how can you effectively be seen without breaking the bank? Many smaller outfits shy away from any branding campaigns with the argument that paying for their own name is not worth their while or that banner media doesn’t show the return, but these arguments are short sighted.

A recent article in Neilson//NetRatings Newsletter, focused in on the importance of seeing the bigger picture, mentioning that “While 84% of transactions occur after people directly key in the URL of the site that they buy from, a third of all retail site visits result from referrals”. In other words, direct type in users had to find you somewhere and building a bit of brand awareness can pay off in higher converting re-visits.

Each acquisition has to originate from somewhere and the connection may not always be a one-to-one — so a push on branding terms or a banner ad may not have a huge direct ROAS, but just watch type-ins creep up and the conversions roll in from that “source”.

So get creative when looking at analytics and remember every user found you somewhere!

April 26 2007

Get the Best ROI With the Pick of a Page!


More and more I am finding that campaign success is directly related to landing pages. These “first impression” pages are crucial to selling the message of the product or service to the user. I see many companies use their home page as a landing page, but if searchers are looking for a particular product isn’t it better to send them to the most relevant product-level page? If visitors are sent the homepage, they may get overwhelmed and back out. Using the most relevant landing page helps to increase the relevance to the user and the potential for conversion.

In general, landing pages should be viewed as specific measurable proposals to visitors. Each page should be focused and present information in a common sense way so that users know exactly what action needs to be taken in order to convert. Messages should be to the point and your “call to action” should be clear. Using an analytics tool can help you understand how your landing pages are performing and how many new visitors uniquely come from a specific ad campaign and keyword. Incorporating these specific pages into your Cost per Click campaigns will ultimately help to reduce visitor confusion and turn more leads into sales.

April 25 2007

When News Outlets Bid on Tragedy…


It is a common methodology for advertisers to utilize SEM to coincide with their natural search rankings. Running sponsored ads with promotions, sales, special dates, etc. can increase brand awareness and improve sponsored ad click-through-rates. Additionally, it is an easy way for advertisers to place higher on a page than competitors who appear only in the natural results.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise when news outlets bid on ‘hot terms’ in SEM to receive higher traffic volumes than sites solely producing organic results. However, when a media agency seemingly exploits a tragedy in the news by bidding on a related keyword, can it be harmful to the organization?

For instance, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other high profile media outlets bid on keywords relating to the recent Virginia Tech tragedy. These agencies targeted the many online users searching for any updates and available news. While any big event can trigger like behavior from media agencies and the practice is becoming commonplace, are ‘tragedy keywords’ crossing the line of tactfulness?

The full article broaching this subject can be found at: Media Mine Web Searches for Readers.

Points to Ponder:
– Is it in bad taste for companies to bid on certain words?
– Is there a threshold that advertisers should avoid?
– Does it come down to individual choices made by advertisers based on social paradigms?

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