Articles written in October, 2011

October 31 2011

AdWords API Workshop


I have been responsible for the development of MoreVisibility’s software that relies on the search engine’s APIs to manage and report on paid placement campaigns.  I have been working with the Google AdWords API since version one, back in 2006.  The latest and greatest release was announced Oct 7, 2011 and is about the fifteenth version.  Back in 2009, they stopped using the sequential release number nomenclature at V13 in favor of a year time stamp.  The newest release, V201109, has been eagerly awaited by the development community.

Back in the spring of 2010, in conjunction with major version releases, Google began inviting developers to attend an API workshop hosted in one of their seven offices in major metropolitan cities, such as London, Singapore, Tokyo, San Francisco, New York.  This year I attended the NYC workshop and was able to meet the hard working Google developer advocates and fellow developers that I have been corresponding with via their forum.  It was great getting to put a face to these helpful developers and to thank them for their tireless efforts to keep the developer community productive, via guiding us through their various versions of the APIs based on the AdWords platform.  It was also a chance to get a better grasp on the new versions’ complexities, and take away best practices for security and efficiencies.

One of the most important functions exposed in the API is their reporting module.  For agencies to effectively manage multiple clients’ budgeting, we need to get complete data efficiently at our finger tips.  I believe that, in an effort to keep AdWords competitive Google will quickly deploy new advertising channels, without addressing the ease of measuring/reporting on these campaigns.  As an example, many developers were unhappy with the V2009 series of releases, due to the fact that the new Remarketing channels’ data was very difficult to report on, due to it being buried in an Ad Performance Report and not in their Keyword Performance Report.  Many in the development community reported the problem to the AdWords API forum and began requesting a super report that would properly provide metrics across all types of campaigns, such as traditional search, display, remarketing, mobile, location and whatever else Google deems worthy for effective internet advertising.  As developers, we did not like to impose mandates to our team for the naming convention for certain types of AdWords campaigns, which would then allow our application programs to locate and manage the metrics.

The Google AdWords API developers processed our feedback and deemed it a high enough priority to address in their next release.  The new “uber” report, Criteria Performance Report, which allows the downloading of all criteria types in one report was part of their latest release.  To differentiate between the criteria, a new criteria type field has been exposed in the reporting, which allows for filtering upon pulling data and categorizing when pulling all data.

Also found in the latest release, is a new authentication option; the popular three legged OAuth, which is a commonly deployed open standard.  While this may not be needed by all agencies, many at the conference had a need to obtain this method for account access to client’s not able to migrate to their My Client Center for one reason or another.  Security is an important component for Google across all product platforms and a top concern of advertisers when entrusted with the management of their client’s hard earned advertising budget.  So it is not surprising that Google expanded their options for authentication.

The workshop included a Mobile Best Practices track presented by, Sumit Chandel.  Sumit had a wealth of statistics on the smart phone’s explosive growth and projections for the mobile internet users and their searching.  It is expected that mobile users will surpass desktop users by 2013.  This will require advertisers to have a fully functioning mobile presence.  If you are still grasping with how to accomplish and could use some assistance in setting up your mobile site, please reach out and ask about our newest CMS for mobile product.

AdWords allows you to actively drive traffic via mobile targeted campaigns and ad extensions.  AdWords does not leave out any bells and whistles for creating highly targeted mobile campaigns.  One can select the carrier, language, platform, operating system, location, product and proximity that you would like for your ad to appear.  AdWords will even allow one to leverage an extension for a click-to-call functionality.  This will present an extra line of content in your ad for a clickable phone number.  Being that this is a Google platform, they have tightly integrated with their Google Voice product to capture the call metrics, like number of calls and completed calls so you are able to measure your success.

One of the best takeaways from the conference is getting to know what Google is working on for future AdWords API releases.  We can expect to see location targeting to the zip code level and shared objects for the efficient use across campaigns.  As the mobile explosion continues to grow, they will continue to expand mobile device targeting options.

October 20 2011

M-Commerce- Is Your Business In On The Action?


Recently, I watched a commercial where a waiter brought the bill to an individual who was eating dinner with several people.  The individual told everyone how much they owed and. immediately, everyone at the table, except for one, whipped out their cell phones and began to transfer money to this person’s bank account to cover their portion of the bill. It just goes to show that mobile devices are here to stay, at least for now. As technology advances, businesses have to adopt to new ways to reach people and one of these ways is through m-commerce.

M-commerce also known as mobile commerce, according to eHow “is the buying and selling of goods and services through the use of hand-held devices such as mobile phones or PDAs.  This form of buying is known as next generation e-commerce and it’s conducted by allowing users to access the Internet without a computer connection, “ For right now, m-commerce in most circles also includes tablet and iPad shoppers. The beauty of m-commerce is that a person is capable of shopping online just about anywhere.

Many businesses are missing the boat by not having a mobile friendly website.  A mobile friendly website not only reaches cell phone users, but it can also reach tablet users. An article by e-marketer states,  “According to Ipsos, tablet owners shop via mobile devices on a more frequent basis and spend more than smartphone owners.” Keeping this in mind. Businesses who don’t have mobile friendly sites are missing out on some of the action. In fact, the article went on to say that dual owners, “those who own both tablet and smartpone devices,” spend more than those who only own smartphones.  Businesses with ecommerce sites can truly benefit by creating a mobile version of their site .Think about how many more sales could be received by businesses who sell things online if they created a mobile friendly website? 

There are new tablets and smartphones on the market just about every day and eventually desktop computers may become obsolete. In order to stay current and get in on mobile commerce, businesses have to be willing to quickly adapt to technology changes.

October 14 2011

Why Have You Not Engaged in a Remarketing Campaign?


Seriously. Why? At the risk of sounding pushy, I can not see any valid reason for not “reaching out” to the visitors who arrived at your site, but failed to take whichever action step you were hoping for. As an example, ecommerce websites obviously want their visitors to complete a sale; while the goal of a lead generation website is for visitors to request more information (i.e. download a whitepaper or sign up for a newsletter) and ultimately capture an email address.

You have more than likely been remarketed to many times and have not even realized. Case in point: it is no mistake that you searched for a portable DVD player and then later that same day (and the entire week thereafter) kept seeing random banner ads from the very same online store you visited that day. If this online retailer is playing their cards right, the banners actually show a DVD player and even better, an enticing discount to lure you back to the site and complete your transaction.

There are so many reasons why visitors do not convert on their first visit. Perhaps they are on their lunch break and ran out of time before they were able to complete their transaction. Maybe they just want to shop around and make sure they are getting the best possible deal. Sometimes it’s as simple as they got distracted and forgot to finish filling out the form on your site or buying the DVD Player and all they need is a friendly reminder (hence remarketing) to visit your site again.

Whatever your online marketing strategy may already include, if you have not engaged in a Remarketing Campaign, you are missing out on great deal opportunities, especially with the holiday season fast approaching.

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