Articles in the Digital Marketing 101 – The Basics Category

Once you get the hang of it, digital marketing can seem like old hat. Before then, it’s important to learn the basics. In our Digital Marketing 101 blog posts, we offer an education into the ins and outs of the digital marketing landscape. Read these blog posts to learn digital marketing basics, such as creating campaigns, writing effective ad copy, and more.

May 20 2011

Don’t forget About the Holidays When it Comes to Your Pay Per Click Campaigns!

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It is a well known fact that the holidays are prime time for online retailers. A good holiday season can be the difference between what turns a company from being in the red to being in the green. The biggest, most obvious, and anticipated holiday is Christmas, which typically yields the highest traffic and sales; especially for an ecommerce website.

Unfortunately, a common mistake many online retailers continue to make is not capitalizing on the many other holidays that can also drive increased, qualified visitors and (ultimately) sales.  It is important to remember that consumers are always looking for a deal and chances are… your competition is probably doing a good job of enticing them with holiday offers. As a friendly reminder, below are the holidays/seasons by month that should not be forgotten and can be taken advantage of in your pay per click initiatives. Some are religious holidays, others are simply the start of a new season, or perhaps a holiday you would never have even thought about, much less utilized to drive traffic to your website.  Be creative with your ad copy, keywords and incentives; you just might be pleasantly surprised with the results!

January: New Years Day, Martin Luther King Day

February: Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, Lincoln’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, Washington’s Birthday

March: Ash Wednesday, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Begins

April: April Fool’s Day, Passover, Good Friday, Easter

May: Mother’s Day, Memorial Day

June: Flag Day, Father’s Day, Summer begins

July: Independence Day

September: Labor Day, Autumn begins, Rosh Hashanah

October: Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, Halloween,

November: All Saint’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving

December: Hanukkah, Winter begins, Christmas, Kwanzaa

I highly recommended that you start planning your marketing calendar a few months before each holiday to ensure that you will be all set with whichever promotion you choose to offer, as well as have plenty of inventory available. Happy Holidays!

May 19 2011

Opt-out Ads for Behavioral Targeting?

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Did you ever dance to the Hokey Pokey song when you were a child? You know, “you put your left foot in you put your left foot out, etc.” It seems that this could be the case for advertisers when it comes to behavioral targeting. Due to some bills on Capitol Hill, mainly the “do not track” bill, some advertisers are getting ahead of the game to attempt to make sure their ads are compliant.

Capitol Hill wants to give consumers the opportunity to opt-out of behavioral targeting; mainly, requiring behavioral targeting ads to have a “Do Not Track mechanism.”  Chrysler along with others have started displaying ads that gives consumer the options to opt-out. It’s kind of like the fine print at the bottom of a contract. Unless someone looks for it they may not be aware that it is actually there. However, it is there and it gives the consumer the option to opt-out.

In this particular ad by Chrysler, the opt-out option is in the top right hand corner of the display ad. Once a consumer clicks on that icon, a drop down menu appears. It explains to the consumer that the ad is being served to them because it matched their interests and is based on their “browsing activity.”

Opt-out Ads for Behavioral Targeting Opt-out Ads for Behavioral Targeting

The consumer receives three options. 1. More information and opt-out options. 2. What is interest-based advertising? (aka as behavioral targeting) 3. Chrysler values their privacy. These options lead to more detailed summary pages that explain the options that consumers have and their various outcomes.

If the consumer clicks on option 1 they are taken to a page that shows a list of different online companies that may be collecting behavioral data on them. Not all of the companies give them the option to opt-out, but for the ones who do; they can just click a box to be opted-out. This doesn’t mean that they won’t see Chrysler ads anymore. However, their browsing data won’t be used to determine which ads they will see while browsing online.

If the consumer selects door number 2 they are taken to a website that shows them a demo of how interest-based (behavioral targeting) works. After viewing the demo the consumer has the option to opt-out and is even given an explanation of what will happen once they opt-out.

Last, but not least, door number 3 takes the consumer to a lengthy privacy document by Chrysler. This document explains what Chrysler does with their data and how they value the consumer’s privacy, etc.

All in all, the opt-out option is an attempt by advertisers to get ahead of possible regulation by the government. If the bill does pass, Chrysler will be ahead of the game while other advertisers will have to make adjustments to their behavioral targeting ads and create an opt-out option for them. For now, behavioral targeting ads don’t have to disclose their tracking capability to consumers, but that could change in the future. 

April 20 2011

Not All Searchers Think Like You

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One of the biggest hurdles business owners and marketers face in creating marketing campaigns is bias.  It is human nature, I suppose, that we believe our ideas and viewpoints are held by the majority of the public.  However, it is important to remove your bias from the discussion when developing an ad campaign.  Not all web surfers think alike or use the internet the same way to find information.  More importantly to consider and understand…not all people think like you when it comes to finding information online.

For small and medium size business owners, this seems like one of the hardest marketing lessons to accept.  It is understandable to expect a business owner, who built his or her business from the ground up, to have their pulse on what makes the business grow.  When it comes to internet marketing and paid search campaigns, many business owners simply apply the same logic that helped build their business to the web.  This is often a failing strategy, because of the bias inherent in the business owner’s thought process on what drives people to their website.  It is this bias and inexperience from most business owners that lead to poorly created and managed paid search campaigns.  Many of the fixes needed to restructure these campaigns are technical in design.  For example, the business owner wasn’t aware of the proper way to build out and structure the campaign, which is to be expected.  They have enough on their plates running their business, and probably never took the time to earn their Google AdWords Certification.  Getting a business owner to agree to technical and structural change is relatively easy when providing paid search consultation, it is exactly the type of help they need and want to hear.

Where it gets challenging for the marketing consultant, is educating the business owner on how to drive higher quality traffic, when the recommendations are in stark contrast to the preconceptions of the business owner.  I do not think many business owners like to hear their ideas on traffic generation are flawed.  As a marketing consultant, educating the business owner on how to look past their own bias by showing real-time statistics to support your recommendations is imperative.  Using Google Analytics (GA) is the most effective way to demonstrate the concept that not all searchers think alike and not all keywords are equal.  Website visitors and their engagement with the site determine success for any campaign.  As a business owner, learn to leverage that data to educate yourself and break down the walls of bias when creating and optimizing an online marketing campaign.  Don’t assume you can just build out keywords based on how you search the internet.  This will only limit your campaign’s effectiveness, because not all searchers think like you.

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