Articles written in November, 2009

November 30 2009

Search and Display- A Perfect Combination


If I said peanut butter would you think of jelly? If I said Fred would you think of Ethel? If I said Batman would you think of Robin? What if I said search ads? What do you think of now? How about display ads. Display ads are a great compliment to search ads. Effectively using search and display ads together can improve click through rates and onsite interaction.

When most people think of internet advertising they think of just search ads. However, pairing search and display ads is highly underrated. Display ads add an extra boost to search ads. According to an article on Search Engine Land “display ads can have a major impact on search and consumer engagement.” The internet has many articles that support this fact. It goes back to a simple fact of traditional advertising; frequency. The more people see a product or service advertised, the more aware they become, and we all know a picture is worth a thousand words. By combining search and display ads, a consumer is being exposed to a product or service and therefore becoming more aware of it.

One important note when setting up display and search ads is to make sure they are consistent. If you’re advertising one message in search and another in display, you’re working against yourself. When your messages are cohesive, whether a consumer sees your search ads, display ads or both, the message is being reinforced. Even if a consumer doesn’t click on your display ad, they’re seeing the visual and if they are interested, they will come looking for you in the future. There have been many times, I’ve been reading an article and stopped to view a display ad. I didn’t click on it, but later on when I had free time I did a search for it. Don’t just go by my experience; let’s look at a client example.

We have a client that sells unique office chairs online. Their search campaigns were bringing in traffic but no conversions. I added a campaign for display ads and within a few days they received a conversion. Here’s the catch, they received a conversion from their paid search efforts. One might think the search ads paid off by themselves, however here’s where it get’s interesting. The next month their display ads were paused and the client only ran paid search ads. They didn’t get any conversions. At the beginning of the next month, the display ads were resumed and like clockwork the client received conversions for their paid search ads. The display ads haven’t received any conversions on their own yet, but whenever they are running, the paid search campaign receives conversions.

Search ads and display ads are the perfect combination, especially when they reinforce each other’s message. Display ads can help improve the results of paid search campaigns.
If you want a consumer to be more aware of your product or service, consider running display ads that are complimentary to your search ads. The results may be a nice surprise.

November 25 2009

Google’s Ad Sitelinks in Action


Google’s Ad Sitelinks can help boost your campaign’s performance!  Sonya Wood’s blog post last Friday talked about the beta program Google AdWords has rolled out, called Ad Sitelinks.  With initial tests running on a handful of our clients’ campaigns, early numbers are showing promising results.

The most significant impact in AdWords stats has been on click through rate and conversion rate.  The chart below taken from the Account Snapshot section of AdWords compares November 9 — November 15 when Ad Sitelinks was in place, to the prior date range when additional links were not being used.  While the click through rate (CTR) for this client’s entire campaign portfolio dipped slightly, the campaign utilizing Sitelinks in the ad copy showed an increase over 66%.

AdWords Stats
Figure A.  All Online Campaigns

Another notable metric that has been impacted is the conversion rate.  Please note the company being featured in this post is an ecommerce website that has historically seen increasing conversion rates throughout the month of November and December.  This is evidenced by Figure A above where we see a 68% lift in conversion rate for the portfolio of campaigns under this account.  This increase was significantly higher for our test campaign utilizing Ad Sitelinks — a stellar 80% lift!

Ad Sitelinks Campaign
Figure B.  Ad Sitelinks Campaign

Beyond AdWords, we have seen additional positive impact in site usage through Google Analytics.  By providing multiple entry points to the website we have been able to drastically decrease the bounce rate for this campaign — by 49%!  Based on the strong preliminary results yielded by implementing Sitelinks on a single campaign, we have since implemented the option on a number of campaigns within this client’s account.  If your AdWords account has been white listed for this beta opportunity, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of it.

November 24 2009

Be Prepared For Holiday Shopping!


Every year…right around this time…I feel the need to remind my clients (especially the Ecommerce ones) that the holiday season is just around the corner. The notion that anyone would need a reminder might seem silly; however, this is a HUGE opportunity to capitalize on the potential up-tick in site traffic. We want to turn these visitors into shoppers and ultimately buyers; make that repeat buyers.  Now that we have identified the goal, how do we make it happen? Is there a secret recipe? Not really, although there are a variety of proven tactics that should be taken into serious consideration:

  • Support the demand for your product or service. You can achieve this by increasing your budgets (daily/weekly/monthly). Traffic will no doubt spike during the holidays and you will want to cover your bases by ensuring that your ads remain active.
  • Plan ahead with inventory. Pay close attention to your online orders; be prepared to restock whenever necessary. Utilize an analytics tool to determine which keywords are leading to the most sales.
  • Be smart with pricing. Price has always been a factor, but even more so with today’s economy. Take the time to do some comparison shopping and analysis of what your competition is offering. You do not have to “give away the farm”, but you ought to be competitive.
  • Offer Free Shipping. This is a critical piece of the puzzle. I strongly encourage retailers to take advantage of this incentive to boost sales. According to ComScore, “The percentage of online sales transactions that included free shipping increased to 42 percent in the third quarter of 2009 from 31 percent in the first quarter of 2008”.
  • Utilize the most compelling Landing Pages. Send your traffic to an offer driven page that is relevant to the keywords that have been searched on. All your buyers should need to think about is entering in their credit card information.
  • Offer Gift Wrap. This is especially attractive for shoppers who are shipping gifts to another state. This is a surefire way to provide that extra convenience.

Happy Holidays!

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