Article Archive by Author

June 27 2008

Is Google Taking Over the World?

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I keep hearing the comment, “Google is taking over the world”, but is there any truth to this statement? According to the latest data from Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence service, Google is “accounting for 68% of searches in the US and 87% of searches in the UK. Everyone knows Google is the search leader king of the internet. So, why would they say “Google is taking over the world?”

People could be saying this because Google is branching out by offering traditional advertising through the internet. Are you surprised? Google now offers print, radio and TV advertising via their online interface. How? The same way they do search marketing- through a bid auction.

In order to bid for space in a newspaper, an advertiser would select the typical newspaper options (size, color, run dates, section of the paper) and then they would place a bid. The newspaper evaluates your bid and then decides to accept, decline or counteroffer. Once the newspaper accepts the bid, an advertiser can upload their pdf to the Google site and have their ad placed in the paper. Are you curious about radio and TV? I thought so.

Radio and TV also work on the bid auction format, but a little bit different. For radio and TV you select the type of stations, (you can only advertise on certain cable stations for TV), the days you want them to air, the times, the amount you’re willing to pay along with a few other details, and Google will tell you how many impressions you’ll get for the amount you bid. Once you settle on the bid amount, you’ll be on your way to broadcasting your advertisement(s). Does this mean Google is taking over the world?

Not yet. They currently, don’t reach all advertising market areas, but I’m sure that will change in the future. Google is actively branching out in the traditional advertising space and encouraging businesses and marketers to link their search ads with their traditional advertising, which is definitely a plus from a cohesiveness standpoint. Businesses that advertise in the traditional advertising space and on the internet should work with their internet advertising agency to link their online marketing efforts with their offline efforts. In fact, your internet agency could do it all through Google and possibly get you a better rate. Google may not be taking over the world, but they are definitely making themselves a dominating presence in the world of advertising.

June 25 2008

And the Numbers Are In: CPC Stats from May 2008

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It seems every time you go to the grocery store, food costs have increased yet again. Well, the same holds true for costs associated with search engine marketing.

Given the current state of our economy, I have been keeping a close eye on the monthly Cost per Click (CPC) statistics, as reported by Search Engine Watch. To no surprise, some industries show more than a 10% increase in click costs (retail, insurance, and mortgage).

With this in mind, while many campaigns are built with all the time and thought in the world, business owners often do not stay on top of the changes in their competitive environment, over time resulting in a non-optimized campaign.

It is important to check your CPC bids and keywords at least once a month to ensure they are still translating into the most effective positions for your target cost per conversion, lead, or sale. In addition, the engines place a significant importance on the bids, daily budgets, and keyword relevancy within a campaign. This will fluctuate not only when changes are made to a specific website, but when changes occur in the general landscape of search. There are some tools to help automate this keyword bidding process, but should not be used in lieu of detailed, personal attention to a search engine marketing campaign.

Keep up to date with changes, stay competitive with your bids, and don’t let your campaigns go stale!

June 24 2008

Experience The Power of Testing

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As a child, one of my favorite board games to play was Monopoly. I longed for the anticipation and joy of becoming the one with all of the power, the person who had the most money, and the person who had the most properties. In essence, the person with the most power. It was a great feeling, and I was very good at winning. Now that I am older, it still remains one of my favorite board games, but I question why that is. My husband beats me every single time. When I examine what my strategy as a child and compare it to my strategy as an adult, I can’t help but notice that I have become more cautious. I don’t buy every property that I land on, because I want to save money (my fake money). And after each game I lose, I always seem to hate the word “monopoly” and what it stands for, but yet I always want to play again.

Why do we enjoy the game of “monopoly” so much, but cringe and complain anytime a real monopoly enters our life? No one wants to live in a town where there is only one choice for groceries, gas, cable, electricity, etc. When there is only one choice with no competition, it usually means higher costs for consumers. When you car is on empty and you only have one gas station in your town, what choice do you have, but to pay for the gas at any cost? American society, for the most part, wants a choice. It is what America stands for. The right to choose.

The same mindset goes for search engine marketing. Advertisers, who use search as their main marketing choice, do not want a monopoly. They typically like the fact that they can choose from Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask, Superpages, etc. As a Client Strategist, I often see the concern and frustration that my clients feel anytime they read an article or hear that Google prices are increasing, and rightfully so. I often get asked, “Is this going to effect my CPC campaigns?”, “Will my monthly budget go as far now?”

No one can deny that Google is still the dominant player in search engine marketing. A recent Hitwise article stated that Google had 68% of the market share. Nielson Online reported 127 million unique visitors to Google in May. The reason behind the choice of Google for so many is debatable. It could be out of habit. It could be because of their brand presence. It could be because people use the word “Google” as a verb- typically replacing the word search in a sentence. For example, I need to go “Google” something. Regardless of the reasoning, as long as Google is where the people go, that’s where the advertisers are going to go. And with more advertisers coming into play, it means more competition and potentially higher click costs.

With the economy as tough as it is right now, every advertising penny has to be accounted for. Budgets are being cut and unfortunately for most companies, testing new online opportunities doesn’t seem to be a top priority right now. I am not claiming a Google “monopoly” yet, but until people are willing to test new channels, how will you know that your advertising dollar is being spent as efficiently as possible? Do you want to stay where you know the eyeballs we are currently at i.e, Google, or do you want to take a chance and be one of the first find other effective channels. Test Facebook. Test YouTube. Test Social Media. Test vertical specific engines. Being safe and cautious doesn’t always result in winning. Take my current Monopoly board game skills as an example.

Go forth and experience the power of testing!

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