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November 21 2007

Top Ten Trends in the Digital Space

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It is no surprise that the internet marketing industry is becoming more and more competitive every day. Thus it is very important that we, as marketers, stay on top of the trends within the digital space. Below is a recap of Google’s Top Ten trends to follow within today’s digital space.

Be “Always On”
It is important that you are always on and always available for your online audience. Flighting your online marketing campaigns is not an effective strategy anymore. You cannot effectively decide to target your online consumer in January and not in February. Your consumer is online 24/7! If you are ever curious to see search trends/volume for a particular keyword, visit- www.google.com/trends

Be Ready Online for What’s Happening Offline
Offline news, events, and media drive what happens in the online world. Visit www.google.com/trends/hottrends to confirm. If you take August 2nd for example- the most popular keywords that day (a.k.a “hottrends”) were terms related to “bridge” and lyrics to songs. If you look back to what was going on in the “Offline World” that day, you will discover that it was the day the bridge collapsed in Minneapolis and the day that the show “The Singing Bee” launched — hence all of the words related to “bridge” and song lyrics. You can’t always prepare for what happens in the “Offline World”, so be ready Online for what happens Offline to as large a degree as possible. You never know when it can be related to your industry.

Don’t Build it & hope they come…Atomize & Distribute
Building out a great site and expecting people to come to it is not realistic anymore. You have to segment it out into the marketplace- “Atomize & Distribute”. Consumers are too busy to surf an entire site to find everything that would be useful for them. Make different parts of your site available. One way to do this is through Google’s Open Social. Open Social allows you to build applications that work across many websites.

Big Portals are Important, but so are Niche Sites
I think we all know and appreciate this fact, but engagement exceeds clutter- which then in turn presents opportunity. With many niche/vertical specific sights, there may not be a lot of eyeballs available, but your ad will most likely be one of the only ones seen. At this point there is not a lot of competition across the vertical engines so it is a great time to act on them.

Make Video the Centerpiece of your Online Strategy
Online video is becoming more widely accepted and utilized across the digital media space. YouTube is a great example of a portal for online videos. One of the most common misunderstandings is that the younger demographic is the only demographic that participates with online video. YouTube not just for teenagers anymore. 51 million unique visitors visit YouTube every month. Average age on YouTube is 33 and over half of their audience is married. YouTube is currently the 8th largest site in the world. If you have a lot of video at your disposal, I encourage you to put it somewhere. It doesn’t have to be YouTube, but somewhere. The Navy recently put all of their Video on YouTube so that it would be readily available and viewable for anyone who wants to see it. It is a great way to expand your target reach and get people involved with your product enough to share it with others.

RSS-feeds provide both choice and control
Allow users to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that’s easier than checking them manually. It gives your target audience the opportunity to choose you. Utilize RSS feeds!

Tap into the Wisdom of Crowds to Drive Innovation & Creativity
Give your consumers a way to provide their feedback. It is their feedback that will be most beneficial for you in the long run. For example, Fiat gave consumers the chance to design a car on http://www.designboom.com/ and vote on the best design. Fiat then created that car and is now selling it in Europe. It was an easy way to listen to what the consumer wanted.

Implement what the consumer wants. and dramatically increase sales as a result. Dell is now doing something similar with Idea Storm. Mastercard is doing this with their “Enthusiastic community” which allows consumers to submit their “priceless” stories for the chance to become a commercial, etc.

Be where your consumers are at the moment of relevance
Straight forward demographic targeting does not work anymore. As mentioned before, offline drives online. You have to reach your consumer at the moment of relevancy.

Keep your eye on how computer architecture is changing
There is an ongoing durability and share-ability issue with computers today. For example, if I were to create a 2008 marketing budget in Excel and sent it to a co-worker in Nashville- they might not know what version to open it with, etc. However, if you could put a file, photo, etc in a “cloud” (per say) for others to “grab” when they wanted it, that would solve a lot of issues. It is important to keep your eye on how computer architecture is changing- even if you are not tech savvy or a developer. For example, there is buzz about a new “Cool Christmas idea” that relates to how technology is changing. It’s a new GPS digital camera that pinpoints the exact coordinates of where the picture is taken. This will allow you to always know exactly where you were when the picture was taken. Pretty cool!

Data Beats Opinion
As marketers we get so caught up in our opinions and our “knowledge”, that we often forget how powerful data is. You can predict the behavior of your target audience through mathematical methods. It is very important to keep you mathematicians available as a resource to plan a marketing campaign. Google referenced the article, “Knowing What to Sell, When, & to Whom” by Harvard Business Review.

As marketers, we can all be overwhelmed and consumed with our day-to-day work load. Yet, it is important to remember to stay on top of the media trends within the digital industry. Take some time to learn what is out there!

October 24 2007

Search Gets More Suggestive

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Yahoo has recently added a new feature to their engine that is changing the way we search. The feature is called “Search Assist” and it predicts what you’re searching for and offers suggestions as you type. While this is a new feature for Yahoo, this system has been around for sometime in the Google Toolbar and on Ask.

Search Assist is a great tool and makes life easier for those who use it. It allows you to get results by typing fewer keystrokes and helps you find what you are looking for when you don’t know the exact words to use. However, search assistance brings some new implications for search engine marketing.

Anytime new search features are introduced, people’s search patterns are usually altered. This means that search engine marketers have to understand and adapt. One of the effects of search assistance is that people will create longer searches. Long tail searches will become more common and this will mean more traffic for those keywords.

Another interesting effect is on branding. When typing a brand or company name in the search engine, popular results are suggested as relevant news articles or related keywords. It is interesting what is suggested when you type in the names of certain products. For example, when you type “diet coke” into Yahoo, the first suggestion on the list is for “diet coke and mentos”. Adding mentos to diet coke leads to a major eruption that makes for a cool science experiment. However, marketers at the Coca-Cola Company might not want that to be the first thing suggested to people who type in their product.

Search suggestions are just one of the many ways we’ll see our search behavior change in the next few years. The effect of the suggestions will be even bigger when Google launches search suggestions on its main search page. Little changes, like a list of suggested queries will have some profound effects. Search engines play such a major role in the internet that it doesn’t take a drastic change to cause a serious impact on organizations.

October 24 2007

How to Optimize Your PPC Campaign

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Lately I’ve been hearing the same question from a lot of my clients, “What do you do to optimize my paid placement campaign?” Well at this point of my career, I don’t feel I’m ready to give away the formula to the secret sauce, but I would like to give our readers some pointers. This will be part of a five-part blog, that will give tips on things to look for when making tweaks and “cutting the fat” from your campaigns. The best way to get top performance from your campaign is to start optimizing when you first launch. The first data you see is a great way to predict where the campaign is headed.

#1 Make Sure Your keyword Avg. Position is where you want to be.

When first launching your new PPC campaign, give your campaign a few hours before going in and making any changes. If you’re bidding at $0.50, you can then go in and see where your ads are showing up based on the keywords you chose to run and begin to get an idea of how competitive your keywords are. If the average position for your keywords is higher then ten, you’re probably not getting many clicks or impressions. If your goal is to sell your products, generate leads or get users to sign up for a newsletter, you need more searchers to see your ads to give your ad more chances to be clicked on. The best thing would be to raise your keyword bids to $1.00, but only for those keywords that are over an avg. position of six. This should raise your average positions which will provide you more impressions and more clicks. To keep from overspending, you may want to lower your daily spend.

My second recommendation will be posted in my next blog which should be up in early November

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