Articles written in July, 2011

July 28 2011

Another Programming Update


It has been a very busy summer for IT departments that have integrated web services as part of their Application Program Interface (API) for business automation. Web services are designed to bridge the gap between business processes available over HTTP via standard browsers and the groups of companies that have developed business processes and APIs that are consumers of this information. For example, a search engine’s portal provides on-line reports concerning click data as well as maintenance panels for online marketing campaigns to humans via HTTP and a browser. In order to efficiently manage reports and track this data, APIs are developed to automate these human interactions with the search engines portal via leveraging their web services.

Due in part to rapid advancements in the technology supporting these channels, search engines are moving forward with so many new features such as re-marketing, mobile and video ads, that the pace of new web services is at an all time high. This means more work for the search engines to not only develop and deploy a human portal available over HTTP, but to also provide the interfaces for exchanging these new elements to their web services consumers; and attempt tokeep backward compatibility with previous releases.

Luckily, many years ago, IBM and MicroSoft teamed up to standardize how programs obtain their road map for using web services and created the Web Services Description Language, WSDL. It is an XML formatted document that describes the service being offered and its’ variables and method parameters. In theory, developers obtain the new updated WSDL and use one of the many tools that convert this XML document into source code in the form of Java, VB.Net, C#.Net, RPG or whatever language is being used by their IT department. The next step is to locate documentation and note deprecated processes and develop new logic to replace or possibly remove this logic from their API.

The challenges arise when the new web services no longer provide existing functionality, and are not backward compatible. It can be labor intensive to convert your logic to the latest version of the web services and then discover after hours of testing that it is not backward compatible. At this point, a developer has to begin lobbying the web service provider to reconsider this “fork” in their applications logic and to hopefully better understand what caused the vendor to change their logic. This process can either fall on deaf ears or be embraced and a patch released in a timely fashion. I am finding that vendors are human and may have overlooked a feature and attempt to patch quickly if resources are available and the number of complaints sufficient to warrant the work. Developers must present their detailed findings and provide ample documentation and supporting evidence to persuade the vendor to spend valuable time and resources to make the programming changes necessary to rectify. It helps if the communities of developers come to agreement when presenting their request for modification. Yes the blogs and forums are a key part to gaining a voice with the vendor and moving the modification through the process or to discuss ideas for a work around in the event the vendor is not receptive to the proposed modifications.

July 27 2011

What the +1 Button Means For AdWords PPC Ads


By now I am sure you’ve noticed the new +1 button right after the headline of PPC ads in Google. There is a lot of speculation of how this will impact PPC advertising and how an advertiser can take advantage of this new feature to enhance PPC ad performance.

What the +1 Button Means For AdWords PPC Ads

The +1 button may affect the click-through rate (CTR) and therefore, quality score of an ad, because theoretically, an ad with more +1’s will be clicked on more likely than an ad without any. This would lead to the ad receiving more clicks, a higher CTR and thus, a higher quality score. The advertiser may also benefit from a lower cost-per-click (CPC) due to the high quality score and CTR.

All AdWords ads are automatically opted in to have the +1 displayed, but you can opt out, although, I do not recommend it, as we are still learning about the capabilities of the new Google+ platform and its benefits for paid advertising. What I would recommend is adding the Google +1 button to your website.

Advertisers do not incur any fees when a user +1’s an ad, and it does not count as a click. Google has said that search marketers will have access to information on +1 counts in reporting, but access to reports have not yet been released.

July 25 2011

Is It Worth It To Pay Top Dollar For Your PPC Ads In Google AdWords?


Not sure if the additional spend for your AdWords ad to be placed in a top position is worth it? Are you blindly bidding to be in position one without knowing your ROI? Google AdWords has created a new report called Top vs. side to answer these questions so that you know if it is indeed worth it for your ad to be seen in a top position.

The Top vs. side report can be used to gauge how your ads perform above and to the side of Google search results. You”ll be able see whether the majority of your clicks and conversions are coming from the top or the side positions, and therefore better optimize your ad positioning.

In the past, Google has said that there is a big difference between when your ad appears in position number one above the search results and when your ad appears in position number one on the side. On average, ads that appear above the search results tend to get substantially more clicks than ads that appear on the right-hand side.

In addition, positions are normally averaged in reports and there is no way to tell how top and side reporting impact the success of an ad. Now, you can see the different metrics from both the top and side ads. 

Is It Worth It To Pay Top Dollar For Your PPC Ads In Google AdWords

Note: The Top vs. side report is available under the “Segment” option of the Campaigns, Ad groups, Ads or Keywords tabs in your AdWords account.

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