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February 2 2009

Have You Been Branded?

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When creating a search engine marketing campaign, many advertisers spend a majority of time selecting keywords relevant to their products and services, but very little time, if any at all, on creating a branding campaign.  A branding campaign utilizes the company name, website and/or trademarked terms as keywords.  A branding campaign can help create a ‘buzz’ about your company.  For example, when creating a branding campaign for ABC Company Washers and Dryers, you would want to select keywords that highlight your company’s core products and services; some potential keywords could be ‘ABC Company,’ ‘ABC Co.,’ ‘ABCcompany.com’ ‘ABC Company Washers’ or ‘ABC Company Dryers.’  Not only are branding types of keywords and phrases helpful when creating an online presence, they are often significantly less expensive and lead to higher conversion rates.

Another useful tactic when creating a branding campaign is to utilize your competitors’ keywords with your ad group.  By using the Google Keyword Tool  and entering your company name you can indentify related keywords and other businesses within your industry.  According to PPC Hero, if you decide to create a competitor campaign, do not use dynamic keyword insertion within your ad copy.  Using dynamic keyword insertion will cause the words entered in the search query to appear in your ad headline. The process of bidding on your competitor keywords is completely legitimate and search engines will not punish you for doing so.  However, you must not use competitor branded keywords within your ads. 

Using both branding and competitor campaigns not only creates brand recognition, but also, legitimizes your company by occupying more real estate within the search engines.  It is recommended to conduct the occasional search to see if there are competitors bidding on your company’s keywords.  Remember if you aren’t bidding on your keywords, someone else will.

January 14 2009

Google Quality Score Misconceptions

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Anyone who has ever run a Google AdWords account understands the importance of the Quality Score, not only at the keyword level, but also with the campaign as a whole.  Recently, we had a meeting with Google and I learned some of the perceptions that I had about the quality score were not entirely accurate.  The following are some myths and the facts surrounding the Quality Score.

One common myth is that changing the keyword match type of your search terms from broad match to exact match will increase the quality score.  This is not true.  According to Google, the Quality Score is calculated using only data from queries that exactly match your keyword.  While keyword types are effective at further targeting your audience, they do not influence the quality score.

Many advertisers have the impression that having their ads show up in higher positions will improve their Quality Score.  Google uses several different factors to determine an advertiser’s Quality Score, and it is not possible to, in essence, buy a better Quality Score.  In fact, if an advertiser has their ad displayed too high on the search results page, they could damage their click through rate (CTR).   The CTR is the amount of clicks divided by the amount of impressions; therefore, if your ad is displayed an excessive amount, and there are no clicks, you will drive down the CTR.  It is best to test different cost per click bids to adjust positions and analyze the campaign data to determine the best position for your ad.

While having a high CTR is important, this alone will not automatically equate to a better Quality Score.  Quality Score is determined by multiple factors such as historical keyword performance, webpage load time, ad/keyword relevance and ad/search query relevance, just to name a few.  Keeping all these elements in mind, it is possible have a high CTR, but a low Quality Score.

Some advertisers are worried that if they optimize their Google Adwords account, that they will lose their account history.  Luckily, the keyword, ad text and landing page history will all be preserved.  While the visible history of the account may be erased, the historical performance of the Quality Score remains intact.  Google fully encourages advertisers to test different campaign methods to determine what will work best.  If after testing, your previous ad performed better, you can change your ad without worrying about damaging or erasing the Quality Score.

It is important to keep in mind that the Quality Score is determined by a multitude of things; therefore, a poor quality score may not be caused by one element.   Try to review several Quality Score campaign elements to further determine causes.  By reviewing your campaign components, you can not only improve your Quality Score but campaign performance as well.

December 17 2008

YouTube Announces Promoted Videos

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Anyone who has ever conducted a search on YouTube knows that it’s quite possible to find a video on almost any subject matter.  Only recently, YouTube has recently announced the addition of promoted videos to their pay per click model.  

Much like Google Adwords, the YouTube promoted videos reach searchers by using keywords.  Advertisers can also add negative keywords to prevent their video from being seen next to undesirable videos or genres.  Promoted video ads have the same character length and character restrictions as a typical Adwords text ad; three lines of text with a maximum of 25 characters in the headline, and two lines of text with a maximum of 35 characters per line. 

YouTube promoted videos are subject to the same Google Adwords policies and procedures.  However, unlike Google Adwords, YouTube promoted video permits alcohol and liquor video advertisements.  Videos promoting competing sites, such as Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn or otherwise are prohibited to run within the promoted video section.

According to Google, over 13 hours of video content are uploaded every second, that being said, just uploading a video to YouTube is not enough.  A promoted video allows you to gain exposure for a very small price, due to the fact that the competition is so limited at the present time.  Once popularity of this program increases; the cost per click will likely increase.

With YouTube running a close second to Google in the number of searches performed, it is clear that YouTube is not going anywhere.  YouTube’s sponsored videos is not only a great opportunity for marketers to get in on the ground floor of video advertising, but also an opportunity to be a part of the next era of internet marketing.

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