As the holiday season quickly approaches, businesses and advertisers alike know that it’s a good time to get ahead of the game. Many already have or are actively planning their advertising strategies. However, for many businesses Google was throwing a wrench into their Adwords advertising strategies with their ad policy review.
In past years, Google’s ad policy review was proving to be a challenge to advertisers when it came to banner ads. Per Google, it takes one to three business days to get banner ads approved, but here’s the catch, the banner ads had to be active. Do you see the dilemma? When an advertiser uploaded active banner ads, their status would change to pending approval and once it was approved the ads would start running (meaning it could now be shown to searchers). Many advertisers would upload banner ads early in order to get approval, and be ahead of sales and holiday time crunches. However, their banner ads could get displayed before their intended time, depending on when the banner ads were approved. Plus, Google didn’t send an alert to let advertisers know their banner ads were approved; they just had to check on their banner ads’ status periodically. If an advertiser waited until the day before or the day of to upload their banner ads, those banner ads might not get approved for three days and then their banner ads would be late to show. Imagine doing banners ads for each one of the 12 days before Christmas, it could prove to be quite challenging, some of your ads could show beforehand and some could end up behind schedule. But as I mentioned, those were days past.
Google started approving paused ads at the beginning of September. This is a huge benefit to advertisers and businesses alike, especially for those who like to plan ahead. This means that banner ads can be uploaded in paused status, approved and then those banner ads stay paused and can be activated on the day they are intended to run. No more showing ads ahead of time because they’re approved and slipping out into the display world before they can be paused, and no more ads being displayed after their scheduled launch date because they’re still waiting on approval. Advertisers should truly be grateful, especially since this change comes right before the holiday season.
So this year, feel free to upload your paused banner ads early and enjoy the fact that no one will know about your surprise sale or product until its time.
Clients will often indicate that their online marketing efforts are in good shape because they have a Search Engine Optimization Strategy in place. Or some will say they‘re all set since they are involved in a Pay per Click program with Google AdWords. Some may actually tell me they don’t need to do either and that all of their business comes from word of mouth.
The best case scenario is to truly cover all of your bases and the only way to do that is by engaging in all components of online marketing. This can be a daunting task, given the fact that there are so many options available today. I’d suggest starting out with baby steps and then broadening your efforts slowly, but surely. Below are just a few of the most commonly utilized forms of online marketing initiatives to take into consideration:
Search Engine Optimization (frequently referred to as SEO)
According to Wikipedia’s definition, Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Clients love achieving high organic rankings in the search engines. This is especially true when it comes to Google, which is no surprise considering it holds about 65% of the market share. Remember: organic rankings equate to FREE traffic.
Pay per Click (also known as PPC)
In this platform the advertiser is paying or bidding on keywords based on their specific business or industry, in an effort to have their ad displayed in the sponsored section of the search engine. This section is typically on the very top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as well as on the right hand side, listed vertically.
Onsite Blog + Blog Postings
In my opinion, having an onsite blog is no longer an option, but rather a necessity. The main reason it ought to be onsite versus offsite is for the SEO benefits your website will gain. Blogs should have fresh and regular content on them, which the search engines love when crawling. You will want to ensure that your blog is updated on a regular basis (minimum of once a week).
Nearly everyone has a Smartphone or iPad these days and more often that not, most are surfing the web via their device. You ought to make sure that you have a simplistic, mobile friendly version of your website that allows for easy navigation.
Social Media Marketing + Strategy
This form of marketing has become increasingly important the last few years and continues to maintain its necessary place within a marketer’s ad budget. Social Media is an excellent medium to reach and engage your consumers and should be utilized to its fullest potential. Just having a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page is not enough, however. You must have a solid strategy in place before diving in.
Paid search advertisements on Google may include celebrity endorsements in the near future. Google has just started testing an annotation under paid search results that include a celebrity endorsement along with a small image of the celebrity.
In the screen shot below, when the phrase “kardashian sears” was searched, a celebrity endorsement from Khloe Kardashian appeared underneath the paid search ad. In this example, Sears is telling Google that Khloe Kardashian has endorsed this product line that is available on the Sears website.
Google Product Manager, Christian Oestlien said that there are only a handful of advertisers in the current program and limited information is available.
It will be very interesting to see how celebrity endorsements affect the performance of paid search advertising, especially with fourth quarter right around the corner and a big push for holiday sales. I would expect that paid search advertisements with endorsements from celebrities would garner more clicks than an advertisement without. In addition, there are many advertisers that would benefit from this new feature, because there are so many celebrity-endorsed products and services.