Articles written in July, 2010

July 30 2010

When Two Become One


There have been whisperings in the air and at meetings about a particular merger. Some held their breath, while others thought it would never happen. Well, it’s official. Yahoo and MSN/Bing are merging their search efforts to form a union known as the Search Alliance.

Search Alliance is the name that Yahoo and MSN/Bing are using for the search merger. However, at the same time they are still competitors. Although Yahoo and MSN/Bing have joined forces in the search arena, they will still remain competitors in the display market. If a company is running display campaigns with either of the engines, they will be unaffected by the merger in regard to through which engine their display ads will be managed.

The Search Alliance merger will allow Yahoo results to be powered by MSN/Bing. When the transition is complete advertisers will be managing their paid search campaigns in MSN/Bing AdCenter. Any advertiser who has been advertising in both Yahoo and MSN/Bing for search will only need to focus on optimizing the MSN/Bing campaigns because their Yahoo campaigns will be turned off. For advertisers who are only advertising in Yahoo, they will need to make sure that they get a MSN/Bing account set up.

The Search Alliance should prove interesting. Many questions arise such as will cpc’s go up? What search partner sites will I show up on? One of the most daunting questions is how will the merger affect my traffic and my ROI? There is one answer for all of these questions. The answer is only time will tell. 

July 26 2010

The New Mobile Internet Mainstream


Killing some time while waiting for a doctor’s appointment — we are completely engaged, open to new information and want to access it quickly.

If this is sounds like the perfect audience to target with your advertising, you are right — and recent reports show substantial growth in this segment. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s Mobile Access 2010 report, 6 in 10 adults in the United States go online using a wireless connection.

Your company or client has an incredible opportunity to engage the consumer through PPC and get them to take immediate action. With a simple click of a button (or touch on the screen), they are either on your website or connecting a call to the phone number in your ad.

The results in this report were based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between April 29 and May 30, 2010, among a sample of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older. A few quick highlights of the report show potentially how large the mobile audience can be:

  • 82% of Pew survey respondents said they owned a mobile phone. That translates into roughly 187 million, out of 228 million US adults overall.
  • 38% — 40% of that population goes online from their handsets, or about 75 million people  (for 18-29 yr olds that number is 65%).
  • 55% of mobile Internet users are online via their mobile phones at least once a day and 43% are access the mobile Internet “several times a day.”

The study also found that a lower income level did not have much affect on Americans having mobile access by noting that “17% of those earning less than $30,000 per year are cell-only wireless users, as are 20% of those who have not graduated from high school and 15% of those who have graduated high school but have not attended college,” whereas “the affluent and well-educated have higher overall levels of wireless internet use due to their much higher rates of ownership and use of laptop computers.”

By observing patterns in an analytics program, one can gauge what type of SEM strategy should be implemented in order to understand how to best to reach their audience.  Search ads with a phone number on the ad may be enough, but mobile sites and applications such as Chipotle Mobile Ordering that let the user find the nearest location, build and order their burrito – probably have their good share of loyal repeat customers.

July 22 2010

Get More Bang for Your AdWords Buck


You can provide deeper, more relevant content to users searching for information by using Google AdWords Sitelinks Extensions within your AdWords ads. Sitelinks Extensions provide up to four extra links to pages within your website versus one link to one landing page from a regular AdWords ad — at the same CPC cost! With these extra links, you can direct searchers to account login pages, special promotions or any of your marketing goals.

Sitelinks are more relevant to users who are searching for information by providing more specific, additional content that is visible to searchers upfront.  The users get to pick which link is most relevant to their search and it steers them to the correct product or service page, thus shortening your conversion funnel.

See the Profound Beauty example below where Sitelinks Extensions are used to direct users straight to products, calls-to-action and special offers from a generic ad.

Sitelinks Extensions

The URLs can be changed as often as you’d like, so you can coordinate with seasonal promotions and discounts.  You can add up to ten links per ad, but only four will show up per impression.  The links will rotate and are prioritized based on the rank in which they were entered. Even though there are four additional links within your AdWords ad, advertisers pay the same CPC cost as an ad without Sitelinks, regardless of where the user clicks.

Sitelinks improve the value of branded terms and other keywords to boost overall campaign performance.  According to Google, Sitelinks Extensions have increased advertisers’ click through rates (CTR) on average by more than 30%.  Advertisers still need to monitor bounce rates, time spent on site and conversion rates, since data is not available at the individual Sitelink level to gauge performance.

The extra real estate on the search results page, combined with richer content with more options for users can enhance clickthrough and conversion rates at the same price as a regular CPC ad — giving you more bang for your AdWords buck.

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